Wisdom teeth grow in the mouth same way that all other teeth do. If there is adequate space, the wisdom tooth can break through, causing little to no discomfort. For most people this is not the case. The problems that arise from erupting wisdom teeth can be very severe. If your wisdom teeth have yet to grow in, the following information will prepare you for the problems that most often occur.
Inadequate Space for Growth
Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars to grow. Wisdom teeth erupt into the four corners of your mouth. The average person grows wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 24, but wisdom teeth can erupt at any time later in life. By this time, there is seldom space for them to come through fully. The small space may only allow the tooth to erupt partially, often causing pain from the impacted tooth. An impacted tooth is one that is blocked from erupting into the mouth fully. In select cases the space is so limited that the wisdom tooth is prevented from erupting at all.
A wisdom tooth that doesn’t have the space to fully erupt, will likely cause the surrounding gums to become sore and swollen. Eating and drinking becomes painful, since a disruption to swollen gums will further irritate the area. The gums surrounding the impacted tooth become infected when food and particles build up in the mouth. Upper teeth usually exacerbate infected gums, since gums are traumatized each time you bite down.
The most common symptom related to growing wisdom teeth, is pain. By the time pain sets in, there is usually an infection already present. Oral pain can be extremely acute, and difficult to eliminate. You can experience; difficulty opening your mouth, tenderness while biting and chewing food, and ulcers on the inner cheek, where jagged points from the impacted teeth dig in.
The symptoms associated with getting wisdom teeth can last for several weeks, then clear up. Unfortunately, those same symptoms can recur, at any time. More often than not, an impacted wisdom tooth will require dental intervention. Infection from gums can spread, and pose a serious health risk. A dentist is equipped to clean the swollen gums that overlap your impacted tooth. If the problem is not remedied by a thorough cleaning by a dentist, getting the tooth extracted is commonly recommended.
After a wisdom tooth is extracted, there is still pain associated with the emptied socket. The area surrounding the extraction will be tender for the first few days following an extraction. This pain is generally treated with over the counter painkillers. It is recommended that you start taking the painkillers as soon as possible, so that the pain doesn’t set in. Following the initial days of pain, it is normal to experience a numb sensation in the gums where the tooth was extracted. If the pain should become more extreme, it is likely that there is a dry socket. Dry socket results from a blood clot becoming dislodged, or not forming at all. A dentist will pack the area with a medicated dressing, which will almost immediately relieve the pain.
Many people choose to have their wisdom teeth extracted in order to avoid issues all together. If you visit your dentist regularly, it is unnecessary to take such drastic measures. During your visits, discuss the X-rays, so that you can get a good gauge on when to expect your wisdom teeth to erupt. Obtaining this information will help you to identify these problems sooner, before too much damage occurs.