Is it always necessary to remove wisdom teeth? What are some signs that your wisdom teeth need to be removed? Our Edmonton dentists answer these questions and discuss the emergency tooth extraction procedure in this post.
If you're between 17 and 25 years old and are starting to feel some sensitivity in the back of your mouth near the gum area - and maybe even pain, which can cause subsequent dental emergencies - you may be wondering if your wisdom teeth should come out.
Wisdom teeth are our third and final set of molars and are often removed when they begin to erupt, as they can shift and impact the alignment of your jaw and teeth.
Is it necessary to remove wisdom teeth?
Our dentists often see patients who are experiencing severe pain due to improper eruption, crowded, impacted or infected wisdom teeth. These problems are quite common. We'll explain each issue more clearly below and why they mean your wisdom teeth should be removed.
Impacted (completely hidden beneath the gums) - If wisdom teeth do not fully erupt, they become. impacted below the gums, causing issues with the surrounding teeth, or leading to a cyst or infection that may damage the jaw bone.
Infection - Inflammation of the tissue surrounding a wisdom tooth (perisoronitis) can develop if a partially erupted wisdom tooth becomes inflamed.
Crowding nearby teeth - Emerging wisdom teeth can cause overcrowding of other teeth, which can negatively affect their alignment. This is when problems with properly cleaning your teeth can come up, increasing your risk of cavities, tooth decay and other oral health issues.
Partial eruption through the gums - Partially erupted wisdom teeth can be difficult to keep clean, which attracts bacteria and can result in oral infection and gum disease (periodontitis).
When should wisdom teeth not be removed?
Of course, in some circumstances, you won't need to have your wisdom teeth removed. If your wisdom teeth aren't causing problems or severe pain, they can be typically be left in. Other signs of healthy wisdom teeth include:
- Able to be cleaned thoroughly as part of daily dental hygiene
- Correct positioning and bite, in alignment with the opposite teeth
- Fully erupted (proper growth)
Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed
Most issues with wisdom teeth occur when a person is between 17 and 25 years old. While few people older than 30 have problems with them, a person may need an emergency wisdom tooth extraction at any age.
Common signs that it may be time to remove your wisdom teeth, or potentially have an emergency wisdom tooth extraction, include:
- Pain and/or sensitivity in the back of your mouth - Wisdom tooth pain is not subtle - you may feel it when you're eating, brushing your teeth or just as you go about your day. Some describe it as a throbbing sensation. If this happens for you, it's time to see our dentists.
- Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth - Misaligned or impacted wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean, as can the gum tissue surrounding them. Plaque, food debris and bacteria can become trapped, leading to infection. Extremely bad breath can occur due to the sulfur compounds released by bacteria.
- Misaligned or crooked wisdom teeth - If the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate emerging wisdom teeth, our third set of molars may come in crooked or misaligned, which can cause other teeth to shift and become damaged.
- Inflammation around the gums - If you've noticed your gums appear slightly reddish or swollen and are sore to the touch, you may have wisdom tooth issues.
- Stiffness or pain in the jaw - Wisdom teeth can begin to shift the teeth and jawline, causing pain.
- Problems with sinuses - Issues with your mouth and oral health can affect your sinuses, causing problems such as pressure, pain or congestion in your sinuses.
- Cysts developing in your mouth - If problem wisdom teeth are ignored, cysts can start to develop in your mouth. these fluid-filled sacs can impact and damage neighboring tooth roots, which is why it's imperative to have wisdom teeth taken care of.
Wisdom Teeth Removal at Emergency Dental Clinics
While wisdom tooth pain may be an indication that your wisdom teeth need to be removed, this is not always the case. When it comes to wisdom teeth removal and interpreting signs that you may need an extraction, it's best to consult a dentist. Our Edmonton dentists can assess your teeth, diagnose the issue and recommend treatment.
If severe pain or other concerning symptoms are occurring due to impacted or problem wisdom teeth, an emergency wisdom tooth extraction may be needed to avoid short and long-term dental problems, such as crowding, tooth decay, cavities and infection.
To start, the dentist will use local anesthetic to numb the area. A blood clot will develop inside the socket once the tooth has been pulled.
A dentist will then pack a gauze pad into the socket to stop the bleeding. Sometimes, self-dissolving stitches will be needed to close the edges of the gum over the extraction site.
While the procedure itself will not be painful, you may experience some mild discomfort as you recover. Over-the-counter pain medication and ice can typically be used to manage pain. Follow your dentist's pain management instructions closely and don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have.
Are you experiencing severe wisdom tooth pain? Contact our Edmonton dentists right away. We can examine the problem and recommend treatment options.