Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are usually the last teeth to develop. They are found at the back end of the top and bottom of your jaw. Wisdom teeth generally make an appearance during your late teens or early adulthood. As the last teeth to come through, there is not always enough space left for them to do so without obstruction. As a result, they can end up misaligned or remain partially or fully trapped under your gum line. This is what we refer to as “impacted” wisdom teeth.
Not all wisdom teeth need removing. However, ignoring impacted wisdom teeth can often be problematic. At Boon Dental, our dentists have a lot of experience in the assessment and removal of wisdom teeth. In this article, we discuss the warning signs that indicate you may need an emergency wisdom tooth removal.
Why do we need to extract a wisdom tooth?
Our dentists may recommend a wisdom tooth extraction to correct a dental issue or as a preventative measure if they foresee the tooth becoming an issue down the track. Without regular and ongoing dental care, it’s unlikely you’ll realise that your wisdom teeth are problematic until a problem arises. During a wisdom tooth assessment, an x-ray can be taken to determine the position of your wisdom teeth. An x-ray can also help identify if space will be an issue when they attempt to push through your gum line.
Below are some of the reasons why our dentists may recommend the removal of one or more of your third molars:
The tooth is impacted
If your jaw doesn’t have enough space to accommodate a wisdom tooth, the tooth can stay partially or fully trapped under your gum line. This can result in pain and inflammation.
Risk of infection
When a wisdom tooth has partially erupted, it creates a flap of gum tissue. This flap can trap food, germs and other bacteria, promoting infection. Ignoring infection may lead to it escalating and affecting your other teeth, nerves and even your jaw bone itself.
Overcrowding and tooth damage
Sometimes the tooth may be sitting at an angle within your gum line. This can make it difficult for it to work its way out without being obstructed by your other teeth. As a result, you may experience overcrowding and smile alignment issues as well as damage to your surrounding teeth.
Signs you may need an emergency wisdom tooth removal
Below are 3 common signs of needing emergency wisdom tooth removal.
Inflammation around the gums
The flap of gum tissue left by a partially erupted wisdom tooth can result in trapped food particles and bacteria. This can irritate your gums, leaving them red, tender and inflamed. As the area is sore to touch, it becomes difficult to keep clean and irritation can often end in infection. As dentists, we encourage you to seek early evaluation to prevent this from happening.
Pain and/or sensitivity towards the back of your mouth
You shouldn’t ignore any tooth-related pain you experience with your teeth. If you experience sensitivity and pain in the back of your mouth while brushing your teeth, eating or even while doing nothing at all, this could be a sign that your wisdom teeth need urgent attention. What begins as mild discomfort can progress to severe pain in little time. So, if you feel tenderness, pain or any kind of throbbing sensation, schedule a dental visit for an assessment right away.
Pain and/or stiffness in and around your jaw
In cases whereby wisdom teeth erupt at an angle, they can begin to affect your bite. Over time, this can result in stiffness and pain in and around your jaw. You may also experience difficulty when opening your mouth or mobilising your jaw. The effects that wisdom teeth may have on your jaw can lead to significant TMJ problems if left untreated. Pain or stiffness of the jaw is an indication of needing a wisdom tooth extraction as soon as possible.
Get professional help at Boon Dental
At our Wentworth Point and Ropes Crossing Family dental practices, we know that the idea of wisdom tooth extraction can be daunting to some. Our gentle dentists have a lot of experience in dealing with these often problematic molars. You’re in safe hands with us. We have relieved many patients of their pain and improved their oral health by removing their wisdom teeth.
Have you spotted the signs of needing a wisdom tooth extraction? Schedule an assessment with us today!