Of the whole set of teeth a human being has, the so-called wisdom teeth are maybe the most problematic ones. Their special location makes them target for many problems, and require special care and treatment when an undesired condition affects them.
Here is a small introduction to some of these problems.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
The term “wisdom teeth” refers to both upper and lower third molars. They are the backmost dental pieces within your mouth, and the last ones to emerge, typically on a person late teen years, or even at their early twenties.
There are 4 wisdom teeth in a complete adult dentition set.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth So Problematic?
Wisdom teeth are not problematic per-se, but problems arise when there is not an adequate structure to support them.
People with small jaws are most likely to develop wisdom teeth problems, because of the lack of physical room to let it grow freely.
What Problems Are Associated To Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth appear later than the rest, which means that there may not be enough room within the mouth for them. As a result, a wisdom tooth must “fight” to get space, and sometimes it gets stuck against a second molar, which holds it below the jawline and totally or partially beneath the gums. This is known as “impacted wisdom teeth”, and may cause inflammation, pain due to the pressure between both teeth, and infection, if it’s partially hidden. In many people, however, the wisdom tooth just stops growing there, so they don’t press against or damage the second molar, and nothing happens.
Regardless of the pressure applied against the other tooth, if a wisdom tooth gets partially out and then stops emerging, then a condition called pericoronitis (peri=outside; coron= crown; -itis= swelling) may happen. Pericoronitis is due to plaque, bacteria, food and other elements getting stuck under the partially-penetrated gum, causing infection that leads to swelling, tenderness and pain.
The growth of infection is worsened by the fact that a wisdom tooth is far behind inside the mouth, thus making it difficult to clean properly. If a wisdom tooth gets cavities, gingivitis or infections, then the second and first molars are very likely to be affected as well.
A wisdom tooth that comes out the wrong way can also cause problems. For instance, if a wisdom tooth is slightly inclined towards the tongue, there may be friction and damage to the tongue during its normal use.
What’s The Treatment For Wisdom Teeth Problems?
The treatment consists on the removal of the wisdom tooth that is causing the problem.
The extraction should be correctly assessed, and any infection must be healed before removal. The extraction should not be performed if there isn’t a condition that needs fixing, i.e. if a wisdom tooth just remains hidden but doesn’t cause pain or discomfort then it should be left untreated.
Sometimes extraction of a wisdom tooth may require a minor surgery, and it’s not uncommon to get stitches after the procedure.
Wisdom teeth extractions have fewer problems if performed before the tooth has stopped growing, so it is important to check with your dentist as soon as discomfort appears.
Many people have no problems with their wisdom teeth in their entire life, but it’s useful to know about those problems, just in case. We hope this article helped you.
See you later!