dental care

Wisdom Tooth
When It Becomes a Problem and How to Deal With It

A wisdom tooth is a tooth that grows commonly when a person is around 17 years old until 21 years old, though some people may get it older.

These teeth are the third molars in both the upper and lower set of teeth. They are located at the very farthest corners of the mouth and can thus be hard to reach.

The term “wisdom tooth” is only used because the teeth are said to grow at an age that a person has already gained wisdom. 

The additional tooth growth is not something to worry about in all cases. It only becomes a problem under certain circumstances.

A healthy tooth that grows in the right positioning will cause no problems at all and only requires proper cleaning to avoid decay and infection.

But a wisdom tooth can be a problem in certain circumstances :

When Does it Become a Problem?

Some of the problems when wisdom teeth are:

  • Problems with Wisdom Teeth Growth
  • Problems with Wisdom Teeth and Gum Infection
  • Problems with Wisdom Teeth Maintenance and Health

1. Growth

Wisdom ToothFor one thing, inadequate space to grow is the first cause of a problem with this extra tooth growth.

This is a very common cause of wisdom teeth problem. If the tooth does not have enough space to grow, it may become impacted. Impacted tooth often cause pain and can also make your jaw feel stiff. This is the number one cause of wisdom tooth extraction. Also, it can grow against the molar beside it and crowd your other teeth, which can cause major dental problems.

Aside from that, there are other smaller problems that can be caused by these late-growing teeth. Some people experience growths that rub against the back of their cheek or other areas around it, which can cause irritation and even pain. In some cases, the pain goes away as the mouth adjusts to the extra growth. But in extremely incorrectly angled teeth, removal may also be necessary.

2. Gum Infection

One problem that may also arise when your wisdom teeth starts growing is that it might break halfway through your gums. In such cases, your gum can easily grow over the tooth, and food can get stuck in the flap of gum. This will lead to gum infection. If you think this could be a problem, talk to your dentist about how to handle the situation. This will certainly not be a cause for extraction, but if an infection has already developed, it would require additional treatment.

3. Maintenance and Health

Another common problem is how to keep your wisdom teeth clean and healthy given their location. These molars grow very far back and can be hard to reach, especially with big-headed toothbrushes. The size of your jaw can also affect this.

However, despite these limitations, it is highly necessary to keep the tooth or teeth clean. Since the area is quite hidden, food can easily get stuck in that area, which can lead to infection, cavities, and eventually to tooth decay. What could have been a problem-free growth of the third molars might still lead to extraction without proper care.

What to Do

If you are experiencing problems with a wisdom tooth, it is best to consult a dentist immediately to determine whether any corrective action or extraction has to be done. Diagnosis will mostly require an x-ray of the tooth area to determine the growth direction and the conduciveness of the surrounding environment.

In major problems with the teeth, extraction is the answer. This is done by your dentist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. High risk cases are often done at hospitals, but most other minor extractions can be completed in a simple clinic setting. In case of an infection, however, the infection has to be healed first before an extraction can be done.

Pain during wisdom tooth extraction is often not a problem since you will be given a local or general anesthetic, depending on your specific case. If you are having more than one tooth extracted, a general anesthetic is more sufficient.

After the removal of the tooth, some cases require stitches and you will undergo a recovery period, which usually just takes a few days. If you feel pain during this period, you can ask your dentist about using painkillers.

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