The pain due to impacted wisdom teeth can be quite unbearable, since there is no room for them to grow normally. This can cause dental problems and also damage to other teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars which are at the back of the mouth. They are the last of the adult teeth to erupt, and usually come in the late teens or early 20s. Wisdom teeth emerge at a place where there is space constraint, and hence, these molars do not have much of a room to grow normally. Pain is triggered due to the misalignment of the teeth and pressure on the gums. If not treated on time, it can damage the neighboring teeth and tear the gums. Most of the time, these teeth are removed with the help of dental procedures.
Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Most of the time, an impacted wisdom tooth is asymptomatic. However, if an infection sets in, the symptoms can be quite painful.
- Swollen and bleeding gums
- Swelling around the jaw
- Excruciating teeth pain
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste
- Stiffness in jaws
- Facial swelling
If any of these above symptoms are experienced, the person must contact a dentist at the earliest before they aggravate. The main reason for pain is eruption of the third molar in the back of the mouth that do not offer much space. Such a space constraint may cause the tooth to grow at an angle towards the next tooth or to the back of the mouth (also known as the mesial impaction). At times, it also grows perpendicular to the other teeth or straight up or down but stranded within the jawline (also known as the vertical impaction). Sometimes, the growth can be horizontal against the neighboring teeth (horizontal impaction) or can grow away from them too by getting locked in that position (known as distal impaction).
These teeth pose serious concerns when other teeth start getting affected, as they rub against the second molars causing more pressure inside the mouth during jaw movements. In other cases, it can also give rise to cysts which can occur if the sac containing the root of the wisdom teeth gets filled with fluid. Although it would be a benign form of tumor, it can cause severe pain, and may call for removal of the bone or the tissue. Tooth decay is a palpable complication, as food particles may get trapped inside the gums and the teeth, leading to a bacterial infestation. And this will further pave way for gum diseases like pericoronitis. Hence in most cases, removal remains a tangible solution for the pain caused.
Many a time, pain relief is achieved by surgical means. If the impacted wisdom teeth are not causing any pain, as per some of the dentists and oral surgeons, they may cause trouble in later life, as painless symptoms do not rule out the doubt that they could be devoid of disease or a tooth cavity. In other cases, when the pain is unbearable, surgical extraction is done as an outpatient procedure. A local anesthesia is used for numbing the mouth, and an incision is done in the gums. Then the bone that blocks access to the impacted tooth is removed. Once removed, the wound is stitched up and the empty socket is filled with gauze.
After the surgical extraction, extreme dental care should be taken to prevent any further complications. The dentist also prescribes antibiotics and pain relievers to palliate the pain caused, post treatment. At this time, the incision is even more susceptible to infestation of bacteria due to trapped food particles or exposure of the dry socket when the post surgical blood clot is dislodged from the socket. So, it is very important to protect the teeth and the gums against any possible infection in the recovery period. Here are some natural ways of attaining relief.
- A temporary relief can be obtained by chewing a chewing gum. One could also use topical Benzocaine, anbesol and orajel, which are oral pain relievers available over the counter. Other pain medications that are effective in alleviating the pain caused by swollen gums are, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Advil.
- The most natural and effective home remedy is rinsing the mouth thoroughly with lukewarm salt water. Prepare a salt solution with 1 teaspoon of salt and 8 – 12 ounce glass of warm water. Swish the solution inside your mouth, gargle and spit out. Do not drink it.
- One can also try clove oil. Soak a cotton ball in a mixture of clove and olive oil and apply it to the wisdom tooth. This will help in relieving the pain. Because, clove oil contains a natural pain killer, eugenol, which is also an antimicrobial agent. Rubbing raw onions against the infected region also helps.
- Post dental care is also inclusive of a soft diet. Usually, after the extraction, the lower jaw is weakened, and it takes time to regain the stiffness. Hence, avoid spicy and extremely hot food. Say no to tea or coffee. Also avoid alcohol and smoking.
Remember, the recovery time is directly proportional to dental care. Post treatment, one has to go for a regular follow-up in order to rule out any infection or gum disease or a tooth cavity. There will be facial swelling for a few days, post surgery, which will subside if the above guidelines are followed.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.