Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in adults. They usually begin to appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Most people have four of these molars, although it is not uncommon to have less or more. About 35% of people do not have these teeth develop at all. As they develop, they can adversely affect other teeth, causing them to come in sideways or become impacted, failing to break through the gum line. A poorly aligned wisdom tooth will crowd or do damage to surrounding teeth as well as to the nerves and even the jawbone. When a wisdom tooth is leaning against the second molar, it can trap plaque and debris in between the teeth, leading to tooth decay. A partially erupted wisdom tooth can open the gum tissue enough to allow bacteria to get in and cause infection.
Any time you are experiencing tooth pain, you should contact your dentist. Wisdom teeth pain is usually a sign of more serious problems to come and should not be ignored. Home remedies are no substitute for professional dental care. However, they might be able to alleviate pain that is not associated with a more serious problem, or can help you make it through the time it takes to get an appointment to see your dentist.
If you try home remedies for tooth pain with no results, then you need to get to a dentist as soon as possible. Chewing gum on the side of your mouth where you are experiencing pain can massage the area and provide temporary relief. Topical oral numbing medicine is available over the counter at supermarkets and pharmacies and can be applied every thirty minutes to numb the site of the pain. A warm salt water rinse can ease tooth pain temporarily. Swish saltwater in your mouth for 30 seconds then spit it out. Do not swallow the salt water.
For temporary relief of pain, many people first turn towards over the counter medications. The most effective over the counter medication for the relief of tooth pain is Acetaminophen. As always, follow the dosage directions on the label. Consult with your doctor is you are taking other medicines are have certain medical conditions that might be made worse by over the counter medications.
In many cases, your dentist or oral surgeon might recommend wisdom teeth removal. This is often recommended before problems develop to avoid more complicated extraction later in life. Wisdom tooth removal is easier in younger patients when the bone is less dense and the roots are not fully developed. Healing and recovery time is also usually shorter in younger patients.
The ease of extraction is dependent on the position of the wisdom teeth. A fully erupted wisdom tooth is as easy to extract as any other tooth. Impacted teeth that are embedded into the jaw bone are more difficult to remove, requiring an incision in the gums and removing the bone at is covering the tooth. In these situations, the tooth is often removed in pieces to minimize the amount of the jawbone that has to be removed as well.
Having your wisdom teeth removed is very commonplace, and serves sometimes as a rite of passage into adulthood. That is partly because it is so much easier to do while the patient is young, and is often necessary later anyway. After extraction, it is very important to keep the area clean with a salt water rinse. Applying ice as soon as you get home will help reduce the swelling. You doctor will prescribe medicine that you should take as directed. One will be pain medicine, the other an antibiotic to fight off infection.
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