Wisdom teeth are the third molars, located at the very back of our teeth, and they grow in last of all, at around the age of 20, and are often times irregular and cause damage and problems to the mouth. When do we absolutely NEED to go to a dentist with them?
1. Pain and swelling around the wisdom tooth
When you get a toothache that seems to be at the very end of the row of teeth, it is often not even the wisdom tooth itself causing the pain, but the surrounding swollen and inflamed periodontium. Symptoms not only include pain but swelling: you may even experience pain in the ear and the face, and these can swell up quite a bit as well. Swollen and inflamed gums are often caused in one way or another by the wisdom teeth, and can reach and affect areas far beyond the wisdom tooth itself.
The symptoms are caused by a massive build-up of bacteria in the soft tissues around the wisdom teeth. In these cases, the infected area needs to be removed, very often including the wisdom tooth itself.
2. It hurts to chew
You may find that chewing, or moving your jaw around in general is unpleasant or even downright painful. You may even be experiencing the beginnings of lockjaw.
This symptom belies the existence of an aggravated infection, which cannot be left untreated. It can lead to real lockjaw, and to sepsis as well!
3. Swollen, painful glands
If wisdom teeth become infected, the infected nodes can affect the entire immune system of the body. In these cases, as is the case with any kind of infection, the glands will swell up, and may even hurt. Although the glands can become swollen for many reasons, this is merely a warning sign that, in conjunction with either of the other two symptoms is ample reason to go to a dentist.
Why do wisdom teeth grow irregularly?
What are the causes of these symptoms? Often times they are caused by the irregular growth patterns of the wisdom teeth. They are much more prone to growing irregularly than other teeth.
During human evolution, the width of the jawbone has decreased, so less teeth can fit into it than grow out. Many times the last teeth to grow in, the wisdom teeth, have no space to erupt into, so they either become infected underneath the gum line or start to erupt in ways that disturb the other teeth; they either grow sideways and impact the teeth next to them, and frequently can end up hurting the jawbone and the tooth roots of several teeth.
What can you expect from a visit to the dentist for infected wisdom teeth?
The dentist will diagnose your condition and analyse the problem, and then set up a treatment plan that will include what s/he intends to do with the wisdom teeth by way of a solution. What that solution will be is entirely dependent on the position of the wisdom tooth, which can be determined only with a dental x-ray, and the degree of infection, which may have to be cured with a course of antibiotics before real treatment of the problem can begin, and then there are other, individual factors linked to the oral health of the patient in question.
Most dentists recommend getting the wisdom teeth pulled if any problems at all make themselves apparent, because their irregular growing patterns make it very likely that the same problems will arise time and time again. Often times, wisdom teeth can only be extracted using oral surgical methods.
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