Should I get my wisdom tooth removed?

There are several reasons why you tooth has to be removed. An impacted Wisdom tooth is one such reason.

What is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

The Wisdom tooth or the third molar is the last tooth to erupt in the permanent teeth set. This tooth generally comes into the mouth between the ages of 18 and 21. In the earlier generations, this tooth used to erupt in the mouth fully due to larger jaws. Due to anthropological variations and also reduced use of fibrous food in our diet, the current generation has a smaller jaw. This makes it difficult for the last tooth to erupt into the mouth. Due to lack of space the wisdom tooth tends to come out in different directions and get locked in the bone. Such a condition is called an “Impaction”.

So one may ask, what harm would it do if a tooth erupts differently or remains within the bone?

What are the signs of an impacted tooth?

The impacted teeth is prone to infection or a decay leading to 

  • pain
  •  swelling 
  • trismus ( difficulty in mouth opening ) and
  •  headaches in the surrounding area.

How can I remedy an impacted tooth?

Your dentist will be able to tell you if you have an impacted tooth when you visit him for your dental examination. If your dentist detects a possible problem of infection or tooth decay, he will recommend an x-ray for your tooth. This x-ray can be full mouth radiograph called the OPG. The OPG gives a clear picture of the location of the tooth in relation to the surrounding bone and nerves.  Your dentist will then schedule an appointment with the oral surgeon, who will do a small surgical procedure to remove the impacted tooth.

Says Dr R M Lalitha, an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, Ex-HOD at M S Ramaiah Dental College—“You can have upto four impacted molar teeth in your mouth, since there are four wisdom teeth in your mouth. It is best to get your impacted molar removed by a oral surgeon, as they are trained to do the procedure. We give the patients antibiotics and painkillers to reduce pain and infection in the area before removal of the tooth. Some discomfort in the area is common for upto one week. Generally, the area heals well after a tooth removal”. 

How should I care for the area after tooth removal?

After the impacted tooth is removed, your dentist will give you instructions for post operative care. You have to follow the instructions to ensure the good healing in the area. If required as per the case your dentist or oral Surgeon may ask you to continue with the medication. Follow your dentists instruction on post operative care to avoid healing complications in the extraction area.

What happens when I ignore an impacted tooth in my mouth?

When you leave an impacted tooth untreated in your mouth, you can have the following complications

  • Decay of the impacted tooth and its subsequent infection
  • Decay of the adjacent tooth and its subsequent infection
  • Trismus or difficulty in mouth opening
  • Swelling in the surrounding gums 
  • Swelling in the jaws
  • Ear pain on that side
  • Headache
  • On and off pain that subsides only on medication. 

What are the home care remedies for impacted tooth pain?

You can do the following home care remedies in a impacted tooth pain

  • Over the counter pain killers till you see your dentist.
  • Warm salt water rinses. Please avoid using hot fermentation from the outside. This increases the swelling in the area.
  • Applying ice packs over the affected area.
  • Gently massage the gums in the area after a warm saline rinse.

Always rembmber to visit your dentist regularly so they can tell you the possibility of any impacted or decayed teeth in your mouth.