Wisdom teeth, also called 3rd molars, can cause pain at every stage... while they are erupting, once they are erupted and when they are removed. In this article, learn the causes of pain and how to improve it at each of these stages.
Pain that occurs while wisdom teeth are growing in happens because there usually is not enough room for the teeth to fully erupt in a healthy and functioning position. The gum tissue become swollen and sore and can even develop a gum infection called pericornitis.
Instead of the gums being in their normal position at the base of the tooth they are way too high and can even cover the chewing surface of the tooth. All the "extra" gum tissue leads to food and bacteria getting stuck between the tooth and gum and causes sore and tender gums.
This unhealthy situation can also lead to tooth decay of the wisdom tooth or adjacent teeth.
Keeping the area extra clean will help more than anything. Because of the awkward position of the teeth and gums this is easier said than done...
For gums that are too sore to touch, gentle swishing with warm salt water is a good way to start the healing process.
After a day or two of swishing several times a day and especially after eating, you should be able to brush the area.
A WaterPik Flosser is ideal for keeping wisdom teeth clean. For extra cleaning, add a capful of Listerine to the water recevoir.
Some cases of pericornitis require a round of antibiotics or a prescription mouthwash.
Once 3rd molars have erupted they should be less prone to infection but still require extra attention to prevent tooth and gum problems. They may have extra gum tissue surrounding them making it difficult to keep them clean and are at a higher risk for gum disease or tooth decay.
The practice of removing all wisdom teeth before they have a problem has become less common. Because oral surgery is not without risk or complications, fewer dentists are recommending removal as a standard practice.
Some dentists have quit proactively removing wisdom teeth while others still recommend removing them before they get a cavity or a gum infection and cause you pain that is urgent to treat.
Here are three factors to consider:
Recovery from wisdom teeth removal varies from just a little soreness to more severe pain. Most of the time discomfort is very manageable. Your recovery depends on the difficulty of the extractions and your personal risk factors for wisdom teeth complications. This article explains more about potential complications.
Learn more about how to care for yourself and promote fast healing after wisdom teeth removal here.