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Wisdom teeth are believed to be “evolutionary relics” and were helpful to our distant ancestors who ate diets that consisted of rougher foods like sticks and reed plants. As teeth wore down or fell out, wisdom teeth provided replacements. Nowadays, with modern advancements in oral hygiene and softer diets, we don’t need these replacement teeth, but they still grow in. Essentially, our mouths can hold 28 teeth, but including wisdom teeth, we have about 32 teeth all vying for space. Wisdom teeth symptoms such as overcrowding, bone and nerve damage, infection, etc. can all result.
Are your wisdom teeth coming in? Wisdom teeth symptoms can include:
Impacted wisdom teeth are prone to developing cysts (pockets of fluid) around them, which can damage the tooth and surrounding tissues, including bone. In rare cases, tumors can form around these cysts, complicating wisdom teeth extraction. The longer you hold off on seeking wisdom tooth pain relief, the more likely it is that you will require a more invasive surgical extraction procedure, or that the problematic teeth will permanently damage surrounding tissues.
It is also possible for your wisdom teeth to partially emerge from underneath the gums. In this position, it’s relatively easy for bacteria to enter through the opening around the tooth. By not seeking wisdom tooth pain relief, it’s more likely that you will experience infection. Infection will result in increased wisdom tooth pain, redness, swelling, jaw pain, stiffness and general illness. It is very easy for oral infections to enter the blood stream and affect the entire body.
The most common treatment for wisdom teeth symptoms is extraction of the teeth. Wisdom teeth extraction is generally done at a dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office under local or general anesthesia. These options and any complications will be discussed before the extraction procedure. If your wisdom teeth have already erupted through the surface of the gums, they can be removed relatively easily as if they were any other tooth. Impacted wisdom teeth can be a little more complicated to remove, however. An incision is made through the surface of the gum above the tooth. After that, any bone covering the tooth needs to be removed. Then the tooth itself is extracted; sometimes, your dentist or surgeon will need to cut the tooth into several pieces to salvage as much bone as possible and avoid unnecessarily cutting bone or risking nerves and delicate tissues. Wisdom teeth extraction is a common procedure and is likely the best solution to relieve your wisdom teeth symptoms.
In recent years, it has become increasingly rare for wisdom teeth symptoms to precede their removal. Dentists and oral surgeons are more likely to recommend that wisdom teeth be removed before they become a problem for oral health. Even still, it’s possible to experience wisdom teeth symptoms, in which case you should relate this information to your dentist immediately.