Impacted Wisdom Teeth

A human body has 32 teeth viz., eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and 12 molars. Due to evolution and lack of space, some people have only 28, which is quite a normal condition. The four teeth in the corner in people with 32 teeth are called wisdom teeth which develop in late teens or early twenties. In some people due to lack of enough space, the wisdom tooth may not grow fully, the surrounding bone may obstruct the eruption or growth of this tooth leading to discomfort. This condition is called impaction of wisdom tooth.

Impacted wisdom teeth causing pain and other dental complications are usually managed with medications. In some cases, the tooth is removed to prevent complications. Sometimes it may lead to pain and infection called, a condition called pericoronitis.

Signs and Symptoms

Usually, there will be minor discomfort due to impaction. The food getts lodged beneath the gums around the impacted teeth and cause soreness.

In some cases, there will be swelling and redness of the gums, headache and jaw pain, and tenderness.

If there is an infection due to impaction, it causes pain, bad mouth odor, pus formation around the tooth, the decay of the adjacent tooth, difficulty in mouth opening and fever.

Call your doctor immediately when you feel pain in your back teeth. If you neglect the condition, you will have to face severe complications.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will first examine the area and may advice to go for dental X-ray test to check if the wisdom teeth are impacted.

Treatment

A minor irritation can be relieved by rinsing with warm salt water. In some cases, antibiotics are prescribed. But if the pain continuous, or if the tooth is infected, or interferes with the nearby tooth, wisdom teeth extraction is recommended. Wisdom teeth removal time is 5 to 30 minutes.

There are very few complications associated with the surgery such as pain, swelling of face etc. it can be managed with pain-killers.

In some patients, all the four teeth are removed and in some patients, surgery is performed before the teeth started coming. This is mainly to prevent further complications.

Coping /Self-management

If there is minor discomfort, it can be managed by gargling with warm salt water (half teaspoon in a cup of water) twice daily.

To maintain healthy teeth and gums use mouthwash, dental floss, brush twice daily and gargle with water after every meal.

Prevention

As impaction is a form of physiological function, there is no prevention. But, symptoms can be prevented by daily activities mentioned above like brushing twice daily, flossing teeth with a dental floss and using mouthwash.

Food also plays a major role in health of the mouth and teeth. Take green leafy vegetables, grains and calcium-rich foods like milk and eggs.

Visit a dentist for a regular checkup for once in three months.

Change tooth brush once in three months

Clean your teeth in dental office (oral prophylaxis or scaling) once in 6 months