There’s nothing smart about getting new teeth in your twenties, but sadly this is normally the time when your wisdom teeth start to erupt, and cause havoc in your mouth. Some people manage to escape the pain of this process, but many others are not so lucky. For most people, there simply isn’t the room to incorporate 4 additional teeth, and for others the problems are even more severe. Find out more about why your wisdom teeth give you so much bother, and what you can do about it.
Wisdom tooth pain
When your wisdom teeth start to come through, the pain can vary from person to person from a slight ache in the area to pain all along the jaw, neck and throat. The pain is normally due to there being insufficient room in your mouth for the tooth to erupt without rubbing against your cheek or jaw, and in some cases the tooth mightn’t come up straight and instead is impacted against another tooth. These bouts of pain tend to be temporary so in most cases they can be managed with some painkillers, but if it’s more prolonged or severe speak to your dentist.
If there isn’t enough room in your mouth for your wisdom tooth to fully erupt, it may come up part of the way then stop. This can lead to a piece of gum tissue growing over the tooth, which can trap food which leads to bacteria growth and then the gum can easily become inflamed and infected. In extreme cases, you might develop pericoronitis where your gums could be red, swollen or contain pus. In these cases it’s extremely important that you see your dentist to treat this infection and try and get it under control. This may be done with an antibiotic combined with salt water rinses to keep the area bacteria free.
Regular visits to your dentist are always important, but if you have partially erupted wisdom teeth you definitely don’t want to skip these appointments. Because of the awkward location of your wisdom teeth and the complications from having the tooth partially exposed, you can be more at risk of decay and plaque build up as it is harder to clean this area properly. Your dentist can check for signs of decay and check that your mouth stays as healthy as possible until your wisdom teeth settle.
In some cases, removal of your wisdom tooth becomes necessary, whether it’s due to extreme pain, repeated infections or irreversible decay. You will be under anaesthetic for this procedure but once the tooth is removed, sadly there is likely to be some additional temporary pain as you heal. The area will be extremely tender and your jaw will probably be sore for a day or two as well. Your dentist will fully explain the procedure, the risks and the aftercare required should you need to have your wisdom tooth extracted.