Wisdom teeth generally erupt from the age of 18 onwards and can be the bane of many patients existence but when do they need treating and what do you need to do to take care of them?
The main cause of issues regarding wisdom teeth is a lack of space for them to erupt fully into the dental arch and as a result they can often become wedged against the adjacent teeth or become stuck halfway out of the gum.
When a tooth is partially erupted the overlying gum can become a trap for food and debris which can cause localised inflammation resulting in a condition known as pericoronitis. This results in swelling of the soft tissues around the wisdom tooth which causes an aching sensation which can be felt along the jaw and down the neck. This is managed clinically by cleaning under the inflamed tissues and washing out any debris with an antiseptic agent. If you suffer from recurrent issues with pericoronitis with long term solution is to remove the offending wisdom tooth however occasionally patients can suffer a single episode of pain which does not recur and does not need any further treatment. The best way to avoid this issue is to clean carefully around any wisdom teeth when brushing but one can still have issues even if the area is carefully maintained.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth can also become wedged into the adjacent tooth which creates an area for plaque and food to stagnate which can put both the wisdom tooth and the adjacent tooth at risk of decay. If this is the case in your mouth the area will need careful monitoring at check ups and if there is any sign of decay the best course of action is to extract the wisdom tooth to prevent further damage to the tooth next door. The best way to avoid decay of the teeth is to minimise the sugar in your diet as well as keeping the area as clean as possible
The final issue patients can suffer with as a result of troublesome wisdom teeth is trauma to your cheek due to the positioning of the erupting tooth- this is generally more of any issue for upper wisdom teeth and can be very uncomfortable. If this is the case the dentist can try to smooth off the points of the tooth but if this doesn’t resolve your issues the wisdom tooth can be removed