There are a number of myths about wisdom tooth and why we should have one. But most of us don’t know that what are the medical reasons behind having it or getting it extracted. Here are a few facts that you must know about wisdom tooth.
What is a wisdom tooth?
Our body goes through a number of changes in our lifetime. The wisdom tooth is one of the major milestones. Wisdom teeth are the last set of the molars that most people get in their early twenties. If they grow correctly, then they can be an asset to you. But if they do not, you may experience pain or discomfort and thus you need to visit your dentist.
Why are the Third molars called “Wisdom teeth”?
As we grow, our body shows various changes and so our teeth. When we were kids, we had milk teeth which were primary and delicate. When the milk teeth fall, the permanent teeth grow. From the age of 16 to 20 years, these third molars erupt. Apparently, teenage is a period of time when we are wiser by our education and experience. Hence this name wisdom teeth have derived as the tooth erupts when we are older and wiser.
Why are third molars so troublesome?
Our ancestors did not have third molar problems as much as we do. That is because their jaw size was big enough to accommodate the third molars. The newer generations are getting more and more used to eating processed foods and not having enough raw food. As a result of this newer generations are not using their teeth and their jaw sizes are becoming smaller. The third molars as a result of the small jaw size are not able to fully erupt in the mouth. Some of them remain completely inside the bone and never erupt at all. While some of them erupt partially out of the bone. (impacted third molars)
When the third molar is partially erupted and covered by gums and becomes infected that’s when you’re third molar starts becoming troublesome for you. With every push the third molar tries to come out but is unable to, due to lack of space. Meanwhile if you just happen to pop some pills its just going to be temporary relief and eventually will start hurting you again.
Symptoms of impacted third molar
When the wisdom tooth does not erupt as the desired tooth position, the abnormal or the impacted tooth may cause infection or damage to the adjacent tooth or gums. Here are some signs and symptoms which a patient can experience :
- Swollen gums and gum infections
- Bleeding gums and tenderness
- Pain in the back side of the Jaw
- Bad breath
- Difficulty in opening the mouth
- Swelling around the jaw
Most antibiotics are prescribed before any surgical treatment to disinfect and reduce the pain and swelling. But just taking medications and avoiding the treatment will not help you.
Operculectomy/ Flap surgery – Sometimes the third molar has completely erupted out of the bone but is still covered with a layer of the gums. This creates a flap or a pocket between the tooth and the gums. The food we eat tends to get accumulated in this pocket and starts causing pain due to the infections. This layer of gum overlying your wisdom tooth is removed. This exposes bacteria and avoids their accumulation. Regular cleaning every 6 months helps prevent the infections.
Extraction – Your third molars if not erupted completely are of no use in the chewing action. The upper and the lower partially erupted or impacted third molars do not occlude with each other as the rest of the teeth in the mouth do. Hence it is advised to get your wisdom tooth extracted if its proving to be a troublesome situation for you. The dentist or the oral surgeon removes the tooth surgically with local anesthesia.
The type of extraction whether surgical or non surgical will depend on how your tooth is impacted. If you are wondering what about the stitches? Then there’s some bad news. Stitches are usually followed after the third molar extractions for better and fast healing and patient comfort and removed after 6-7 days.
- Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly.
- Stay Hydrated. Water flushes all the bacteria and toxins in our mouth.
- Rinse and gargle with antiseptic solution or warm saltwater.
- Follow a healthy diet. Avoid sugary foods and alcohol.
- Third molars erupt at 18-25 years of age, which is the age of wisdom, hence they’re called wisdom teeth.
- Third molars are troublesome because of the jaw size discrepancies.
- Sudden pain in the back region of your jaw could indicate third molar pain. So look out for signs and symptoms.
- Take necessary precautions to avoid third molar pain.