A Guide to Wisdom Tooth Pain
While pain and discomfort are extremely common among people whose wisdom teeth are beginning to erupt, the reasons behind the feeling can often by far from normal and, in many cases, could require immediate treatment from an emergency dentist.
Although this growth process has been referred to as a right of passage for young adults, a high number of them will experience some kind of problem with the emerging pearly whites at some point. Therefore, it is vital to be in the know about what can be counted as a serious issue.
Firstly, it is important to be aware of the difference between impacted and infected wisdom teeth to be able to accurately determine the severity of the ailment and the correct course of action to take.
What are wisdom teeth?
The 28 adult pearly whites commonly erupt during childhood, but the remaining four do so when a teenager is around the age of 16. Located at the very back of the mouth, these teeth can cause a number of problems as they exert pressure on the existing pearly whites as they try to force their way up through the gums.
In many cases, they can grow crookedly and develop into impacted wisdom teeth, which require the assistance of a dental professional who will normally extract them.
What are impacted wisdom teeth?
When a wisdom tooth becomes impacted, patients can experience a lot of pain and discomfort in the surrounding area and find that their other pearly whites are also placed in jeopardy. For this reason, individuals are urged to seek treatment from an emergency dentist as soon as the problem presents itself.
While many individuals may believe these teeth require extraction simply due to overcrowding, the underlying reason can be much more serious. This issue can lead to the tooth erupting horizontally, angled inwards or outwards, backwards of forwards – which can cause issues by creasing pockets around the mouth that could encase debris and cause decay.
Due to the intricate location of such collections of harmful debris, patients may find it extremely difficult to brush this area, this making removal a near-impossible task.
When can a wisdom tooth become infected?
Individuals who visit their dental practice on a regular basis can usually rest assured that all is well concerning their oral health. Check-ups allow a trained professional to monitor the growth of wisdom teeth through X-rays, while determining whether the erupting teeth are likely to cause pain in the future.
However, those people who fail to attend regular appointments will often find their pearly whites become impacted due to limited space on the jaw line. In many cases where impacted wisdom teeth are not removed, the area will become infected – which will cause severe pain for the individual.
As the pearly white struggles to emerge, pressure can be pleased on the nearby teeth and cause them to become uncharacteristically sensitive. Surrounding gum tissue and jaw bone can also begin to ache when this occurs.
While many people may find these symptoms easy to ignore, it is vital to seek treatment from a dental professional as soon as possible to prevent the onset of infection. Although this presents itself in a number of ways – for example, through an abscess or cyst – the majority of people will find it originates from tooth decay.
When food and other debris get trapped in and around the loosened gums, the chances of developing this common ailment become even greater. As the pearly whites begin to grow at strange angles, they can erupt through the gum without emerging completely, which creates pockets where food can gather.
The formation of these areas make it increasingly difficult to clean the teeth at the back of the mouth and items become lodged in place for longer periods because everyday brushing is not enough to remove it.
In cases where the infection gets into the wisdom teeth, patients can experience a number of issues while experiencing severe pain all of a sudden. Furthermore, if individuals fail to seek treatment for this condition, they may find it spreading to the adjacent pearly whites.
An abscess or cyst can also develop if a dental professional is not informed. This growth usually fills with puss and can be extremely uncomfortable. Sufferers may also experience soreness and further swelling across the side of the face.
How is a dental infection treated?
If severely infected wisdom teeth are left untreated by a dental professional, the problem can spread into areas of the cheeks, jaw and face. Some rare instances have seen the issue spread towards the brain.
Initially, the ailment needs to be thoroughly cleaned away from the surrounding area of the pearly white, with the plaque and debris then removed from under the gum and the adjacent teeth.
Following this, a dental professional will take steps to ensure the problem does not reoccur, so the affected wisdom tooth often needs to be removed.
Patients should be aware of the dangers that leaving a problematic tooth in place can present. Those visiting a dentist on a regular basis are usually able to catch the problem early, while receiving professional advice on the best course of action to take to prevent the issue from worsening.
What does the removal procedure entail?
The type of treatment needed to remove a wisdom tooth largely depends on where the wisdom teeth are located. In cases where they have managed to erupt through the gum, a dental professional may only need to use a local anaesthetic then slice open the tissue and extract the pearly white.
However, while the majority of patients will hope it will be this simple, there are a number of complications that can arise to make the procedure more complicated. For example, when the affected tooth is partially trapped in bone.
After being referred to an oral surgeon, patients will be asked to make an appointment for a pre-operative consultation. During this visit, a professional will evaluate X-rays and discuss the treatment – which is an ideal time for individuals to ask questions or raise any concerns they have.
Eating and drinking is not recommended for 24 hours prior to the operation, while those undergoing this course of action will need to bring a friend or family member along to the dentist’s office to help them after the anaesthetic wears off.
The procedure, which is most commonly conducted under general anaesthetic, usually takes approximately one hour, with another 30 minutes to come round. It is perfectly normal for people to feel groggy for around a day after the surgery, so it is advised a loved one is on-hand to help out with everyday tasks.
During the operation, an oral surgeon will expose the wisdom tooth by slicing through the gum and lifting it away. In those cases where the pearly white is encased in bone, the practitioner may need to cut some away before removing the affected area piece by piece. The tissue will then be replaced and held into position using dissolvable stitches.
The practice is open Seven days a week from 8am to 11pm for routine dentistry and we offer a 24 hour emergency dental walk-in service 365 days a year. You can book a consultation at any time by calling our reception team 24 hours a day on 0208 547 9997 or contact us during our working hours by email.