You may wonder why we have wisdom teeth if we don’t really need them. The truth is we don’t really need them, which is why dentists often recommend wisdom teeth extraction to prevent wisdom teeth infection.
They are set deep inside the mouth and some individuals may not have enough room in their jaws for them to grow properly. It is common for wisdom teeth to come in misaligned or grow crooked (and into adjacent teeth) when they break through the gum partially or fail to break through completely. When this happens, we refer to them as impacted wisdom teeth. As they grow in, they can push on other teeth, causing problems of overcrowding and misalignment for them as well.
Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth were helpful to our ancestors who ate diet consisted of rough foods such as rough plants, nuts, and meats that require serious chewing power. As teeth wore down or fell out, wisdom teeth provided replacements.
Due to evolution, since our diets today consist of softer foods, the lack of fiber leading to the lack of exercise has made the jaws smaller. As a result the space to accommodate the wisdom teeth is relatively less in the jaws. So the wisdom teeth either get no space to come out or they try to come out but in the process get stuck and malaligned. The evolutionary biologists have classified wisdom teeth as functionless or vestigial. Unfortunately now, wisdom teeth are typically more trouble than they are worth.
An impacted tooth may not always hurt or may not cause any pain, making it easy for you to miss it.
Impacted teeth may cause pain when the gum becomes infected and swollen which can also have an effect on neighboring teeth.
Although the pain of impacted wisdom tooth is often enough to let you know that something is wrong, it is still important that you are able to identify the issue as early as possible. Else it can worsen to the extent that swallowing is a problem as is mouth opening.
Any patient with impacted wisdom tooth will begin to notice a few symptoms that will worsen as the condition continues to develop. Dentists in India thoroughly examine your symptoms and the impacted tooth clinically and depending on the situation they advise extraction or a symptomatic relief through medicines.
Warning symptoms of impacted wisdom tooth
i. Throbbing pain in the back of the mouth
When wisdom tooth becomes impacted, it causes a great deal of pain, particularly as the condition worsens. You may notice pain radiating from the back of the mouth, particularly focused on the area around the wisdom teeth and other molars. The more your wisdom tooth tries to emerge and can’t, the more tension there will be under your gums that will cause pain to throb from the back of your mouth, whether it be your gums or your jaw. This pain will get worse as the surrounding teeth begin to become affected.
ii. Intense Jaw Pain and Swelling
The area feels tender to the touch accompanied by a visible swelling along the affected area of the jaw and the gums. It can be subtle at first, but can worsen quickly to the point that it can become painful or difficult to open your mouth. If you notice these symptoms, see a medical professional right away.
iii. Swollen, tender and bleeding gums
Impacted wisdom tooth can cause serious gum issues. The gums may become swollen and tender to the touch. They may start to bleed when pressure is applied, making brushing painful and difficult. If you notice your gums becoming swollen and tender, it may very well be impacted wisdom tooth but can also be other forms of gum disease, so it is important that you see your dentist immediately.
Impacted wisdom tooth can cause headaches of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw and skull. This pain may radiate to other areas of the head and face as well.
v. Bad Breath
Impacted or poorly aligned wisdom teeth are difficult to clean and are a haven for trapped food and bacteria. It is easy for bacteria and debris to get trapped in the crevices of the gums, resulting in an unpleasant odour and a bad taste in the mouth.
Complications caused by impacted teeth
There are potential complications for both partially impacted and completely impacted teeth such as-
- Damage and realignment of adjacent teeth- When wisdom teeth become impacted they can lead to crowding in the mouth, which can push on the adjacent teeth around them, causing infection or forcing the teeth out of place.
- Gum disease- Impacted wisdom teeth are prone to infection and decay. This can cause serious issues in the mouth as the back portion of the gums is difficult to clean. This can result in food and bacteria becoming trapped and lead to further gum disease and tooth decay.
- Cysts- The area from where the wisdom teeth grow can get filled with fluid when it becomes impacted. This can lead to cysts that can damage nerves, can cause pain and damage to adjacent teeth. In such situations immediate removal is required.
Dentists in Delhi are regularly counselling patients on the complications that impacted wisdom teeth may have.
While there is no way to prevent an impacted tooth, you can make sure to continue brushing and flossing to prevent cavities.
The most common treatment for impacted wisdom tooth is extraction. Dental clinics in India and Delhi are routinely doing wisdom teeth extractions as part of their regular treatments. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner the pain will be behind you for good.
Neglecting the above mentioned symptoms of impacted/stuck wisdom teeth, may lead to more serious complications. As soon as you begin experiencing any of the warning signs, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Dental clinics in Delhi, advise an opg x-ray as the routine investigation to assess the exact position of the wisdom tooth.
Posted by- Dr Shriya