Wisdom teeth also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to develop and appear. It is not uncommon for these teeth to be missing in our dentition. But, when they do come out, it is usually during the late teens or early twenties (ages 17 to 21 approximately) and can be a valuable asset if your teeth are healthy and aligned. This means the wisdom teeth are unable to come into your mouth fully and often get shoved about and erupt into your mouth at unusual angles.
Function of Wisdom Teeth:
As we have 28 other teeth, wisdom teeth usually do not have any special function. We are able to chew, maintain facial aesthetics and our facial profile with the other teeth. In case we lose one of the other molar teeth due to any accident or tooth decay, the wisdom tooth can be moved forward in position with the help of orthodontics and it then takes on a very important role in chewing and eating.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth:
Teeth that remain partially or completely entrapped within the jawbone are called ‘impacted teeth’. If these teeth manage to come into the mouth and we can keep them clean, there is no need to extract them. If the teeth is no need to extract them. If the teeth are impacted and cause pain, swelling and infection frequently, it is better of get them extracted.
Before extracting wisdom teeth it is always better to weigh the pros and cons of the procedure. Based on the proximity of the tooth to the maxillary sinus or nerve bundle in the lower jaw, removal can be complicated. However, since we are evolving as a species, the jaws are shrinking in size and due to lack of space the wisdom teeth frequently do not erupt or manage to erupt only partially. In most cases, molar teeth are misaligned and necessitate removal.
Misalignment of Molar Teeth: Molar teeth are said to be misaligned or in a bad position if they are:
• Angled toward or even away from the second molar
• Angled inwards
• Angled outwards
• Misaligned wisdom teeth can present a host of potential problems for teeth as well as gums.
Complication of Misaligned Teeth: Poor alignment of molar teeth can lead to a host of problems such as:
• Crowding or damaging the teeth adjacent to wisdom teeth
• Damaging the jawbone
• Damaging nerves in that area
• Wisdom teeth which lean towards the second molars entrap plaque and food debris
• Wisdom teeth which are completely trapped within the jawbone may break out through the gum
• Partially erupted wisdom teeth create an opening for bacteria accumulation and cause infection
• Partially erupted wisdom teeth are prone to decay and gum disease since they are hard to clean
What You Should Expect After Wisdom Teeth Removal:
Every wisdom teeth is different like every patient is different, but the after treatment of wisdom teeth removal will normally fall into one of these three categories depending on how much more work has to be done to get the teeth out and the patient responds to treatment.
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It is possible to elevate many teeth out. These patients will experience little or pain or swelling and there are often no stitches. The teeth extraction will take less than a minute. Most of these patients are back to work the very next day. They should be on an antibiotic and using a painkiller sometimes and they should rinse there mouth with some warm saline water, but they can easily perform the routine daily work without any issues.
The other group of patients will have had their teeth cut out. This takes about ten minutes per tooth. This patients may be experience sore and swollen on their mouth for one week. They need painkillers and antibiotics and they must rinse their mouth regularly with salt water and Corsodyl mouth wash. These group of patients will normally need four to five days off work although some will need longer. Physical activity is only restricted by pain and sports should be avoided for about two weeks.
The last and a very small group about 5% are those who suffer with dry socket and infection. Dry socket is a severe condition after any teeth extraction and lasts about two weeks. It is not able to predict and treat. Painkillers and antibiotics are in effective. You must keep your mouth clean with mouth cleaner and should wait for the pain to resolve.
Infection can occur after any teeth extraction even if followed all the instructions and take your antibiotics. It can be very painful and produce swelling both in your mouth and around your jaws. Infections may take two to three courses of antibiotics to clear and you will find it difficult to for job for this period of time however most of the common symptoms are treatable with mild painkillers, taking rest and fluids.
Wisdom Teeth or Third Molar and Pain:
The pain caused by wisdom teeth before they are extracted is normally due to some of these factors. The common cause of pain before an extraction is infection. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to break out into your mouth. Because of this condition they do not have enough room to break out into a normal position and tend to be pushed around and break out at different angles. Bacteria and food waste build up around the teeth resulting in severe infection with pain and swelling. Chronic low level infection over years can result in the formation of periodontal pockets, and chronic periodontal disease.
Another main cause of pain is caries in the wisdom teeth or the teeth in front of the wisdom tooth. Pain on having hot or cold foods and tenderness to bite down on the teeth actually indicates pain due to tooth decay. This kind of pain must reduce immediately while removing the third molar and may be alleviated in the short term by placing a temporary dressing in a tooth.
Postoperative pain after wisdom teeth removed is normally because of the trauma of the extraction which would normally respond to Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and reduce in severity over several days. The more difficult the extraction the more trauma caused and the more pain you will experience after the extraction is completed. The pain may be worse by postoperative infection. This may be a dazzle up of pre-existing infection or it may be an infection which arises after the extraction.
The pain will usually resolve within few 10 to 15 days, but sometime it may last much longer. It has been known to place dressings in the wounds to attempt to reduce the pain. This may work in the short term but it will increase the duration of the dry socket as the dressing will slow the healing process.