Consider the phrase “better late than never”. Have you ever wondered why we even have wisdom teeth seeing as they only appear later in life and end up getting excised most of the time?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars that grow into the mouth later in life.
It is interesting, however, that the wisdom teeth sometimes fail to grow out or only make a partial appearance. Due to this phenomenon, impacted wisdom teeth may cause symptoms that can lead to severe discomfort.
Generally speaking, wisdom tooth removal is the best option when they start causing pain symptoms or other annoying problems although it is good sense to get a professional opinion first.
What a mystery? Why do our wisdom teeth wait such a long time to erupt? Even though the answers are yet to be discovered, at least we know how to spot those sneaky late-comers when they make their appearance.
The first signs of wisdom teeth coming in are:
Considering that tooth development takes place in such an organized fashion from baby teeth to permanent adult teeth over the course of years, it is actually strange that wisdom teeth wait such a long time to erupt.
Adult teeth normally grow into the mouth from the age of 6 years and upwards, and the wisdom teeth are the last teeth to enter the oral cavity.
Have you ever found yourself wondering: “When are my wisdom teeth coming in?”
Guess what! Some people don’t get wisdom teeth, but for the people who do, the number of these teeth can be anything from one to four.
Frequently, even while a wisdom tooth is coming in, it can cause problems. Wisdom tooth growing symptoms can be pretty troubling in some cases.
The wisdom teeth may come in normally and into the correct position for their function or they can develop into non-functional positions or partially functional positions which is not ideal.
A wisdom tooth can also become impacted and either erupts partially or not at all and during the process of growing out, it can cause various uncomfortable symptoms.
In many cases wisdom teeth cause no discomfort, but they may cause the following uncomfortable and annoying symptoms:
Occasionally a flap of gum tissue is formed next to a wisdom tooth when it starts sprouting. Small pieces of food and germs can get trapped under these flaps. This is known as pericoronitis and it can appear around the wisdom teeth even if they are still underneath the gums.
Because wisdom teeth are at the back of the mouth and difficult to clean which gums get irritated and this leads to pockets forming between the teeth where bacteria can grow. These bacteria then cause infection and cavities.
When a fluid sac starts to form next to a wisdom tooth, it is called a cyst. When cysts go untreated, they can destroy bone and teeth roots.
One of the first signs of wisdom teeth coming in is irritation which is caused as they attempt to enter the mouth trough the gums. When they begin breaking through the gums they cause inflammation of the tissue around the tooth.
Swollen gum tissue surrounding the affected tooth can make it quite difficult to bite down without getting some swollen tissue caught between your teeth.
The irritated gum tissue can, furthermore, be disturbed by small pieces of food that get stuck in the area. This only increases the swelling around the wisdom teeth.
Also, when the wisdom teeth become impacted; they are blocked by the jawbone or other teeth and can’t come up through the gums. As the roots of these teeth lengthen swelling may become an issue.
Swollen and sore lymph nodes
Some people may experience swollen lymph nodes in the neck and jaw and stiffness of the jaw caused by infection.
Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always show symptoms which means that you could have impacted teeth without even realizing it. If symptoms do however arise, it is usually caused by infection of the gum covering the tooth.
If your lymph nodes are swollen your face may appear swollen and it may be difficult to chew or eat.
Nearly any neglected dental problem may lead to unpleasant mouth odor. Partially erupted wisdom teeth, for instance, can trap food and as this may be hard to clean it may lead to infection and, in turn, infection may lead to bad breath and a strange taste in the mouth.
One major cause of bad breath is gum disease which is one of the most bothersome wisdom tooth growing symptoms. The breath odor connected to gum disease can happen gradually so that you may not even be aware of it.
Bad breath is very unpleasant, and it may affect your self-confidence and the way you behave in social situations.
Impaction of the wisdom teeth occurs when they do not completely come out into the expected normal functional position. A wisdom tooth can therefore become stuck under the gum or get stuck while pushing through the gum.
Wisdom teeth can be impacted partially or completely due to obstructions or because they grow out in an abnormal position, although a lack of space in the mouth is the biggest offender in this case. When wisdom teeth appear they can become blocked by the other teeth around them and this may cause a wisdom tooth to erupt only partially or not at all.
Impacted wisdom teeth do not always cause warning signs and to make matters worse, impacted as well as non-impacted wisdom teeth can cause trouble.
These problems can lead to pain and swelling. Many people develop problems soon after their wisdom teeth come in while others may not experience any worrying wisdom teeth symptoms until a later stage.
Interestingly, impacted as well as non-impacted wisdom teeth can cause trouble. Pain and swelling are the most common signs of wisdom teeth causing problems, but additional things may also alert you.
Other impacted wisdom teeth symptoms include:
Also, keep in mind that impacted wisdom teeth can cause other wisdom teeth infection symptoms like fatigue and weakness.
Wisdom teeth symptoms causing headaches and wisdom teeth symptoms causing earache can be especially bothersome and your dentist may be able to help you with these.
Remember to check in with your dentist if you are experiencing any distressing symptoms concerning your wisdom teeth!
Generally speaking, impacted wisdom teeth may not cause issues at all. However, some people can suffer from problems like inflammation, tooth decay and gum disease and other possible difficulties with their teeth later on.
When impacted wisdom teeth are left in, they could end up damaging the neighboring teeth or they may become infected.
You might not have immediate problems but when the tooth decay gets to the nerve of the tooth an abscess can develop and severe toothache will be a feature of this.
A wisdom tooth is difficult to clean and some food may get stuck between the tooth and the gums. This creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Bacterial infection can lead to gum disease and bacteria can even travel through the blood stream to other sites in the body like the vital organs which could lead to systemic diseases like endocarditis.
Impacted wisdom teeth can be dangerous to your health and your dentist or your oral surgeon will know more about your disease or condition and if you will need to have surgery.
Examples of conditions that warrant the immediate removal of the wisdom teeth include:
These are some of the most common reasons for the removal of wisdom teeth. There are other reasons that are not listed here, but your surgeon will discuss these concerns with you in greater detail.
As far as painful wisdom tooth infections are concerned it’s best to avoid the whole situation altogether. The pain caused by a wisdom tooth infection should be treated quickly so that any further complications can be prevented and anyone who’s ever had to deal with this pain should be able to tell you that it can become excruciating.
Wisdom tooth infection, which is a common sign of wisdom teeth coming in, can be treated in various ways that may include a conservative approach or even surgical extraction.
Wisdom tooth pain may resolve on its own; then again, in some cases, home management or dental surgery may be needed. If you begin experiencing pain caused by impacted wisdom teeth infection, you should consider visiting a dental professional who may recommend treating this complication conservatively with antibiotics, mouthwashes and over-the-counter painkillers.
You can also use ice packs to reduce swelling, rinse your mouth with salt water, or use pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin to help with the pain.
However, if your infection worsens, your best option would be surgery. Surgical extraction is commonly considered by dentists to prevent further infection or other complications.
Seeing as impacted wisdom teeth can cause various troubling symptoms, your dentist may advise you to get them removed.
Wisdom teeth are easily removed in young people since the roots are not completely formed which means that the bone is softer and the chances for damaging the surrounding structures like nerves is less. The ideal age to get your wisdom teeth removed is between the ages of 17 and 20.
The removal of the wisdom teeth is a common surgical procedure and these teeth can be removed to improve the discomforts caused by impaction or to prevent future problems.
Seeing as impacted wisdom teeth can lead to other dental problems, people who have impacted wisdom teeth (even if they are not causing any warning signs) should visit a dentist regularly for their usual check-ups.
Generally speaking, dentists may decide to take the wisdom teeth out to prevent possible problems from developing at a later stage even if there are no immediate symptoms.
Frequently, the wisdom teeth are impacted and therefore they can’t break into the jaw and into the mouth and waiting to have them removed can lead to problems after surgery. This means that the risk for heavy bleeding, teeth fractures and nerve damage will consequently be higher. These potential difficulties could, of course, go away after a little while, but then again, they could last for a lifetime.
Experts agree that the following situations are clear indications that the wisdom teeth need to be surgically removed:
Ideally, a full set of teeth is needed for optimal dental health and the correct functioning of the teeth. They should develop into the mouth completely and be perfectly aligned in their dental arches.
Any tooth that does not comply with these prerequisites is regarded as impacted and such teeth commonly cause discomfort and dental problems.
It is often a wise decision to have offending wisdom teeth removed.
Pericoronitis, as described earlier, is the inflammation of the part of the gums that covers the crown of a wisdom tooth that is only came in partially.
In chronic cases of the condition, the patient may not even be aware that they are suffering from it except for occasional discomfort or a bad taste in the mouth from time to time.
In acute cases the gum will become painful, swollen and red. People going through this ordeal experience severe discomfort and they may be fatigued and have no appetite. They may also have difficulty sleeping because of the throbbing pain.
To prevent infections from developing and spreading due to pericoronitis, the wisdom teeth are often removed.
Wisdom teeth are difficult to reach for cleaning and therefore, plaque tends to build up and food may get trapped near them. This results in the development of dental caries in the adjacent teeth and the loss of support which is normally provided by them.
Dental caries result in cracks and structural damages to the teeth which are needed for support. The removal of the wisdom teeth can help to counteract this type of dental disaster.
Poor oral hygiene may lead to a reduction in the bony support of the dental structures which may worsen other dental conditions. This can all be avoided with the timely removal of impacted wisdom teeth.
Oral hygiene can actually be improved by extracting impacted and semi-impacted wisdom teeth.
The formation of cysts or tumors in close relation to an impacted wisdom tooth is probably the worst complication associated with wisdom teeth and the indication for surgical removal is clear in such a situation.
The removal of impacted wisdom teeth has been reported to bring relief to pain in the ear, neck, dental arches and headaches that cannot be explained otherwise.
Your dentist may also advise you to have your wisdom teeth removed as a preventative measure to reduce the likelihood of future dental dilemmas.
Wisdom teeth are a great mystery of the mouth and even though we may not have all the answers to this mystery, we all have a story to tell about our personal experiences with wisdom teeth.
They main thing is that we need to stay informed about our dental health so that we can know what we should be looking out for.
Also, if you or someone you know has any questions about their wisdom teeth, it would be clever to discuss the issue with your dentist or surgeon.
In the light of staying informed, here are some facts to remember about wisdom teeth: