Common Signs That You Need to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth usually grow through in people’s late teens and early twenties which can cause problems since the rest of our adult teeth replace our milk teeth when we’re children, so the wisdom teeth can push their way through causing pain. Rearranging your teeth can not only be painful, but even cause complications and infections so most people will have theirs extracted. However, in some cases, wisdom teeth can grow through normally if there’s enough space, so not everyone has to have their wisdom teeth removed.
To know if you need to have yours taken out, here are some common signs that you need to remove your wisdom teeth.
What Are Common Signs That You Need to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
Simply having wisdom teeth showing on an x-ray doesn’t mean you need to have them removed; they can grow through without pain or discomfort. However, you should have your wisdom teeth removed if:
- They’re causing severe toothache
- You have swelling around your face
- They’re infected or decaying
- They’re impacted
You should see your dentist or dental hygienist once every six months for a standard check-up of your dental health, so in your appointment, they should be able to spot any issues with your wisdom teeth. However, if you develop any issues with your wisdom teeth before your check-up, you should make an appointment to have them assessed to prevent them from causing further problems.
Wisdom teeth can cause toothache in a great many ways:
- If they’re infected
- If they’re impacted
- If they’re growing into the nerve of the neighbouring teeth
The toothache caused by your wisdom teeth growing can be immense, leading to some people having their wisdom teeth taken out as emergencies. The toothache isn’t always concentrated in the tooth either, pain from toothache can spread from the jaw into the ear, causing some people to think they have an earache and neglecting their teeth.
So if you have pain in your ear and tooth, you may need to consider having your wisdom teeth removed.
Infections and immense pain can cause swelling of the face and neck, so if you wake up one day with a swollen face and think it may be caused by your wisdom teeth, you should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. You can help reduce the swelling by taking anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen and placing a cold pack over the area. However, if the swelling significantly worsens and affects your ability to breathe, swallow or eat, you should go to A&E immediately.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth Shown on X-Ray
You won’t know you have an impacted wisdom tooth until your dentist performs a dental x-ray, so if you have toothache or swelling around your face, you should see your dentist for an x-ray to understand the issue. Sometimes the impacted teeth don’t cause any pain at all, but they may do at a later date so your dentist will likely recommend removing them to prevent further complications.
Impacted teeth refer to when the wisdom teeth do not erupt properly from the gum and instead grow sideways in the jaw or into the molars next to it. In most cases, this is very painful as the wisdom teeth continue to grow and push on the other teeth and your jaw, so you should consider a wisdom tooth extraction if your x-ray shows your wisdom teeth growing at the incorrect angle.
How to Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Everybody should register with a dentist in the UK to ensure they have their bi-yearly check-ups, however, if you’ve moved to a new house, gone away for university or are simply scared of dentists, it’s normal to have a period where you don’t visit your dentist as often as you should. What’s more, it can be very difficult to register as a new patient in many areas as the NHS is severely lacking funds and staff, so you may have to pay a private dentist rather than wait for an NHS appointment.
However, the important thing to remember is that however scared you are of dentists or however much pain you’re in, you should always go to a dentist regarding your dental health and never attempt to remove a tooth yourself. If you don’t like the idea of having teeth removed, you can arrange to have all of your wisdom teeth out at once under sedation, so you won’t be aware of the procedure.
Otherwise, your dentist will book an appointment to remove your wisdom teeth with a local anaesthetic.
If you’re in immense pain and can’t carry on your daily activities even with painkillers, you could have your wisdom teeth removed as an emergency.
Getting Your Tooth Removed in an Emergency
If you need to have your wisdom teeth, or any teeth, removed in an emergency, you should call your dentist to make an emergency appointment as soon as possible. If you don’t have a registered dentist and don’t know the dentists in your area, you can call 111 to find an emergency or out-of-hours dentist nearest to you, or search online for emergency dentists near me to find a private dentist that can treat you quickly.
In an emergency appointment, a dentist can remove your tooth if they deem it necessary, however, they can also reduce swelling or inflammation by performing a root canal and draining the pus to clean the infected tissue. If the tooth needs to be removed, they can then arrange an extraction at a later date when the swelling has gone down and the tooth is more easily accessible.
Removing a tooth does have certain risks as you will be left with an open socket in your mouth that needs to be kept clean to prevent infections. So if your wisdom tooth is infected, your dentist will treat the infection before removing the tooth to help the gum heal afterwards and prevent complications from further infections.
Essential Tooth Extraction Aftercare
After having any kind of tooth extraction, it’s important to properly care for your oral health to prevent any infections from occurring as well as reduce any pain following the procedure. Your dentist will give you a list of dos and don’ts to follow after your tooth extraction procedure, including what to eat and drink and when it’s safe to resume your normal life.
For the first 72 hours following your tooth extraction, you should not:
- Eat very hot, very cold, spicy, crunchy or crumbly foods
- Drink very hot, very cold or fizzy drinks
For the first 7 days following your tooth extraction, you should also not:
You should avoid eating or drinking anything for the first 3 hours after your tooth extraction to allow a blood clot to form, covering the socket to help it heal and protect it against food and bacteria entering the wound. You should then follow the other advice regarding eating, drinking and cleaning your mouth in order to prevent dislodging or dissolving the blood clot.
Blood clots are small red jelly-like substances, so you can check to see if you have one with a torch and a mirror. If the blood clot is removed from the socket, your risk of developing an infection is greatly increased, and you may experience severe pain as the nerve endings and jaw bone are exposed. This is known as a dry socket and can be very problematic, so if you think you don’t have a blood clot, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Your GP cannot help with dental issues, nor can a hospital, so always contact your dentist in the event of any dental health problems.