Word to the Wise
Did you know that the term “wisdom” tooth refers to the fact that these are the last teeth in your mouth to develop, and eventually erupt? Because these teeth appear a bit later in life, usually during your teen years and/or early adulthood, at an age where people are presumably wiser than they were as a child, the term “wisdom” tooth was adopted.
Not all impacted wisdom teeth are alike. Here are a few of the different types:
Soft Tissue Impactions are teeth that emerged into your gums slightly. Fortunately, it hasn’t erupted yet and it’s still mainly in your jawbone, but it’s definitely something your dentist will want to take a look at.
Distal Impaction means that your wisdom tooth is heading to the back of your mouth. The only positive side to that is the fact that it’s not bothering your other teeth!
Vertical Impaction teeth grow vertically, however they come in a bit too close and get stuck beside your other molar.
Horizontal Impaction results in definite extraction, since the wisdom tooth is aimed directly at your molar and causes pain.
Mesial Impaction develops at an angle toward your adjacent molar and causing pain to your teeth as well.
The Tooth Hurts
How do you know if you have an impacted wisdom tooth?
Here are a few ways to tell:
- Pain or swelling in the back part of your mouth, where the wisdom teeth are located
- Bad breath or taste in your mouth
- Swollen glands
- Pain or ulcers on the cheek
Your best bet is to talk to your dentist. He or she will give you the information you need to determine if you’ll need surgery.
The speed of recovery after wisdom teeth removal depends upon the level of complication involved during the extraction.
After surgery, be prepared for some bleeding and facial swelling. The dentist will give you gauze for the bleeding, and you’ll need to be careful not to dislodge the blood clot from where the teeth were removed. Give your mouth and gums some time to heal by taking it easy for a few days and avoid solid foods, hot beverages and alcohol within the first few days after.
Your oral surgeon may give you a prescription pain killer or recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever. To help with the swelling, use an ice pack and get plenty of rest. It’s also a good idea to rinse your mouth out with salt water; this helps to keep your mouth clean and prevent infection.
If you do notice anything unusual like pus discharge, severe pain, or a fever, contact your dental professional immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
When it comes to your teeth, think of them as tiny, white, hard capped jewels. They’re a precious commodity and require the proper maintenance and care to stay shiny and healthy.
Make your wisdom tooth extraction as painless as possible by doing your research and finding a dentist who has your best interests in mind.
Your tiny tooth friends will thank you!