One of the more common dental procedures sought by teens and adults involves wisdom tooth extraction. An impacted wisdom tooth can be painful and could potentially lead to a variety of dental problems for a patient. Wisdom teeth are the final teeth to emerge through the gums, in the back of the mouth, arranged in pairs at the top and bottom of the mouth. Abnormal wisdom tooth eruption can cause gum disease and if left unrepaired can be the source of significant discomfort. Prompt and professional evaluation of the problem is the first step in finding a solution that can provide the relief you need.
There are several ways a wisdom tooth can pose a problem for patients. One circumstance develops when wisdom teeth fail to erupt fully from the gums. This causes a flap of gum tissue to grow over the partially emerged wisdom tooth. The flap of gum tissue provides an opening for food to become trapped, leading to discomfort while eating and eventually gum disease that can have long-lasting ramifications.
Another potential problem with an improperly arranged wisdom tooth occurs when the tooth is impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are the teeth in the back of the mouth that are crowded into the arrangement of teeth without proper space to develop normally. Impacted wisdom teeth are painful and can manifest in symptoms including jaw stiffness. In cases such as these, extraction is required to remove the troublesome wisdom tooth and return the patient’s dental structure to one that can prevent gum disease and problems with eating.
Many patients choose to temporarily treat the pain of an impacted wisdom tooth through pain relief medication. One common misconception is that anti-inflammatory remedies such as ibuprofen can permanently alleviate the discomfort experienced due to wisdom tooth problems. The reality is that pain relievers only offer a temporary solution and the issues that arise because of wisdom teeth are only solved by removal of the tooth or teeth.
Pain and discomfort are only part of the risks associated with leaving a problem wisdom tooth in place. Overcrowding of other teeth and gum disease are issues that cannot be solved by masking the pain through pain relievers. Fortunately, wisdom tooth extraction surgery has become a routine practice and one that has been proven effective in solving a whole host of dental problems. As many as 5 million Americans annually choose outpatient wisdom teeth removal. Proper wisdom tooth extraction by a qualified oral surgeon provides pain relief, reduces the risk of gum disease, avoids problems associated with jaw stiffness, and even allows patients to sleep and eat more comfortably.
The sooner an impacted wisdom tooth is extracted the quicker the patient can return to a pain-free and healthy smile. Consult an oral surgeon to find out how best to deal with your specific circumstance and to avoid lingering problems from an untreated wisdom tooth.