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Wisdom Tooth Complications

Wisdom tooth complications can occur either when wisdom teeth are not removed soon enough or after they are removed.

Seems you can't win for losing with these unmanageable molars.

These are the best strategies to avoid complications or find pain relief.

Prevention and good timing are important.

Like most health issues, for wisdom teeth being proactive works better than seeing a dentist only when they hurt.


Wisdom teeth are the most random teeth to erupt and the most common teeth to be missing enitrely.

There are usually no symptoms letting you know it is time to have them removed.


Like the wisdom teeth on the right side of this x-ray, many times there is not enough room for them to come in and be useful functioning teeth.


Even without symptoms, these teeth should be removed because of their awkward position. Because it will be impossible to keep them clean and healthy, sooner or later they will develop a problem.

Your dentist or orthodontist will keep a watchful eye on your wisdom teeth from your mid teens through early twenties.


How to know when they need to go

Here's what your dentist is evaluating when looking at an X Ray of your wisdom teeth...

  • How they are erupting? Straight or at an impossible angle?
  • If they are coming in straight, is there enough room for them?

For most, removal is suggested sometime after age 15 and before age 30.


Wisdom tooth complications...

The condition called pericornitis occurs when the gum tissue surrounding partially erupted teeth becomes swollen and inflamed.

It can be mild or very painful. Mild cases may be treatable at home using salt water rinses or Listerine, and gently massaging the gums with your toothbrush. More severe cases should be treated by a dentist with a prescription mouthwash or antibiotic.

Because the swollen tissue is near other molars in your mouth, it is easy to accidently bite the already sore and swollen gum area...ouch!

Gum tissue sweling and then shrinking makes it seem like your wisdom tooth is erupting and then shrinking back into the gum.

Your tooth doesn't shrink back into the gum once it starts erupting but gum swelling comes and goes.

Pericornitis can be treated but will most likely happen again until the wisdom tooth is removed.

Second molar decay is a possibility when wisdom teeth erupt into the back side of your second molars.

Cavities can be filled of course, but whowants a cavity when it can be avoided?


Risks of removing a wisdom tooth

Every Surgery has risk. Here is some of what your oral surgeon or dentist will tell you about wisdom teeth removal...

Dry sockets are the most common wisdom tooth complication. Horror stories of dry sockets that cause severe pain and just the thought of getting one is what keeps many from getting their wisdom teeth removed.

When they are removed at the proper time and by a skilled surgeon or dentist, the risk of dry sockets is decreased and pain after wisdom teeth removal is very manageable.

Following after care directions will greatly decrease the possibility of a dry socket or other pain.

A rare but unfortunate wisdom tooth complication is damage to the lingual nerve.When wisdom teeth roots are fully developed they can grow close to the lingual nerve. Damage to the nerve during surgery is a remote possibility. Having your wisdom teeth removed before the roots grow too close to the nerve greatly decreases the possibility of this occuring.

It is a good idea to have teeth removed when you have a day or two after the surgery to relax and recover.

When done by an oral surgeon, the cost of wisdom teeth removal is higher that a general dentist but a good portion is covered by most dental insurance plans.


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