Wisdom teeth are usually any of the four third molars and appear between the ages of 17 and 25. They affect other teeth as they develop, becoming ‘impacted’ or coming in sideways. This causes pain and they need to be extracted. Sometimes cysts and tumours appear around the impaction site, especially in older patients and require surgical removal.
Sometimes the wisdom tooth does not come out fully and a portion of the gum remains covering the top surface. Debris and bacteria enter in-between, causing infection, bad breath and redness, pain in the site, which in extreme cases can extend to the jaws and the back of the neck. Extraction becomes necessary to ease these symptoms.
Wisdom teeth are extracted for two main reasons, either the teeth have already become impacted, or would result in problems that include food particles easily trapped in the jaw area behind wisdom tooth where regular brushing or flossing are ineffective and lead to infections, which could be frequent and cause medical danger.
Signs of tooth infections after wisdom teeth extraction are many and the person must follow the instructions of the dental surgeons closely. Some of these are recounted below:
Bleeding and oozing are expected, but one must not rinse the mouth, which would dislodge the blood clots that are forming. Gauze pads could be placed on the extraction site and bitten down firmly to stop the bleeding. Some doctors suggest that tannin contained in tea can help.
Dry socketis a condition that occurs when the blood clot at the extraction site fails to form. The extraction site becomes irritated and painful, which is made worse by food trapped in the area.The surgeon may have to clean the area under local anaesthetic and prescribe ibrufen to ease the pain.
Swelling should not be confused with dry socket and is a sign that the healing process has begun. Swelling should last for two to three weeks and subside on its own.
Nerve injury can occur if the drill being used by the surgeon, inadvertently hits a nerve causing pain and bleeding. This type of injury can be permanent and in rare cases the bleeding may feed into the nerve canal due to the pressure of the blood build up.
In conclusion, wisdom teeth start coming out during the ages of 17 and 25 in most people and are positioned in the molar area, usually the four third molars on either side of the jaws. Complications arise when the upcoming tooth comes up sideway, ‘impacting’ the neighbouring tooth. Pain caused when this happens, necessitates extraction.
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