Your wisdom teeth are a set of four adult teeth located in the back corners of your mouth. Wisdom teeth grow in usually between the ages of 17 and 24. Hence why they are called wisdom teeth in the first place: for the wise young adults who produce them.
Most anthropologists believe wisdom teeth were necessary for our caveman ancestors, who lived on a diet of raw roots, leaves, meat, and nuts. But since then, we evolved to cook our food and use utensils that otherwise cut, crush, and mash it into manageable pieces. In other words, modern humans just don’t need wisdom teeth anymore.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon or your dentist can remove (extract) a wisdom tooth. The procedure often can be done in the dentist's or surgeon's office. You may have the surgery in the hospital, especially if you are having all your wisdom teeth pulled at one time or if you are at high risk for complications.
When our modern diets evolved, so too did our jawlines. Unfortunately for many of us, our wisdom teeth never got the memo. Our downsized mandibles no longer have room to comfortably fit wisdom teeth, but the majority of people still develop them. And it is this one step in our human development that causes many of us to seek wisdom tooth pain relief.
For some people, wisdom teeth coming in turns out to be no big deal; they experience no wisdom tooth pain or other problems because their teeth erupt fully and without issue. In other cases, wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to come in normally, if at all. Make an appointment with your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
When a wisdom tooth forms in the mouth but never breaks through the gums, it is referred to as impacted. One that emerges only part way is called a partially impacted wisdom tooth. In both cases, the tooth often grows at an angle because of lack of space in the mouth. This becomes the source of many potential problems, including:
Removing a tooth that's fully visible in the mouth is a fairly simple procedure; it involves numbing with a local anesthetic, and after a bit of work around the gum, the tooth is out. However, this is usually not the case with wisdom teeth. Located in the back of your mouth, most wisdom teeth don't have enough room to come in properly and are referred to as impacted. In fact, nine out of 10 people have at least one impacted tooth.
Extracting impacted teeth usually requires the removal of some bone and gum tissue, making the procedure more involved than removing teeth that are positioned normally. And because all four teeth are usually removed at once, most offices recommend some type of sedation during the procedure.
Before deciding on the best option of anesthesia for your extractions, you and your dentist will need to discuss your anxiety level and the procedure's complexity. Consider the most common types of sedation used in dental offices today:
Wisdom tooth removal usually is effective in preventing:
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. The following tips will help speed your recovery.
Your dentist will remove the stitches after a few days, if needed.
You might be surprised to hear that the hole takes several months to fully close after tooth extraction. Your dentist will also advise you to avoid certain activities for a period of time because of the risk of dry socket. The name makes it sound pretty innocuous, but it is actually very painful and potentially dangerous.
After wisdom tooth surgery, a blood clot forms in the hole in the bone where the tooth was removed — otherwise known as the socket. This blood clot protects the exposed bone and nerves, but if it dislodges or dissolves in the days following surgery, your bone and nerves are left exposed to food, fluids, and bacterial infections.
To help prevent dry socket after wisdom tooth removal, avoid these activities for about two weeks post surgery:
It is essential to keep the wound clean while it is healing. Because people still need to eat and drink, food can easily get stuck in the area where the tooth was removed. This can make keeping the wound area clean a bit challenging.
Try the following to help keep the wound clean:
As well as pain, some people will feel tired after having their wisdom teeth out and might choose to avoid exercise for a few days after the surgery.
Eating soft or liquid foods can help to prevent damage to wounds. Some examples are:
For the first few days after surgery, avoid foods that need chewing, such as sticky candy or chewing gum as these may get stuck and can cause pain and damage to the healing wounds. Also avoid hard, crunchy food, such as chips, pretzels, nuts, and seeds, as well as hot or spicy foods.
If one or two wisdom teeth have been removed from the same side of the mouth, it may be possible to chew on the opposite side of the mouth after 24 hours.
Recovery from wisdom teeth removal usually takes a couple of weeks. Some people might need stitches to help close the wound. The dental surgeon will usually remove the stitches after about 1 week. Sometimes, the surgery causes bruising, swelling, and pain, which will also require time to heal. The healing process can be broken down into the following stages:
Recovery time will be different for everyone. If blood clots become dislodged from the wound, or the wound becomes infected, recovery may take longer.
Though this surgery is a common procedure and usually goes well, wisdom teeth removal complications can occur. Anywhere from 2.6% to 30.9% of patients experience complications from wisdom tooth removal. Being prepared for these possibilities is key to appropriately handling or even preventing them. Here are five of the most common complications to help you jump-start a discussion with your dentist.
Pain and swelling are expected after an extraction, though the extent varies by person. In a study, men reported less pain than women. Though pain is subjective, the study cited that, in the first day following surgery, 53% of patients had mild pain and 47% had severe pain. Only 15.2% had severe pain within one week after surgery. The amount of pain and swelling may be connected to how long the surgery takes. Your dentist may advise taking over-the-counter pain medications, eating a soft diet and avoiding strenuous physical activity to relieve your symptoms.
The wisdom teeth are close to the inferior alveolar nerve running through the jaw. If the nerve becomes damaged during an extraction, it can lead to lip numbness. This complication can spontaneously resolve, and does within two months in about 96% of patients. Your surgeon will minimize the possibility of nerve damage while removing the tooth or teeth and will inform you of your risks for this complication prior to surgery.
You may also experience:
There are many reasons why your teeth might hurt, but one of the most common is sensitive teeth pain. If you’ve ever winced after an unwelcome twinge of sharp pain when you eat or drink something cold or hot, sweet or sour, this could be one of the symptoms of tooth sensitivity.
To find out what’s causing your tooth pain you should visit your dentist for a check-up and ask about tooth sensitivity. Your dentist will be able to identify the cause of your sensitive teeth symptoms and rule out other causes of tooth pain, such as tooth decay, infection, disease or injury.
If you feel a short, sharp twinge of pain when you eat or drink something cold, hot, sweet or sour, or if it’s painful when you brush your teeth, then you could have sensitive teeth. There are other reasons why your teeth might hurt.
You may have ‘ouch’ moments when:
Many factors may lead to the development of tooth sensitivity, including:
Sometimes you may have tooth sensitivity after a filling, but this usually clears up fairly quickly. Check back with your dentist if the sensitivity still hasn’t gone away a few weeks after your filling.
Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:
Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.
This method involves using the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil to reduce the pain felt by the tooth. To use this method, you would need a tablespoon of coconut oil. Pour a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil into your mouth and swish for about 20 minutes. Then spit out the oil and brush your teeth afterward. Ensure that you do this daily, especially in the morning.
Onions are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and can fight oral pathogens as well as treat tooth pain. You need a piece of onion to chew on for a few minutes, or place it on the affected area and leave it for about 10 minutes. Do this once or twice daily for desired results.
Salt can reduce inflammation due to its natural antiseptic properties. Get half a teaspoon of salt and one glass of warm water. Now add the salt to the warm water and mix it thoroughly. Use the mixture to rinse your mouth, and ensure you do this two times daily.
The vitamins required for treating tooth sensitivity are vitamin B and vitamin E. If you are not getting enough, then you might need to take supplements. The two vitamins help to combat inflammation of the affected area to promote healthy gums and teeth. Consuming foods like fish, almonds, spinach, kale, turnip, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy would supply these vitamins.
Yogurt prevents demineralization of the enamel. So get a half bowl of plain yogurt, and eat it all up. Ensure you do this at least once daily.
Garlic has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory capabilities that treat toothache and fight oral pathogens. Now get a garlic clove, a milliliter of water, and a pinch of salt. Now crush the garlic clove and add a few drops of water and a salt pinch to it. Rub the mixture on the tooth and leave it to ac for about 15 minutes before washing it off. Doing this once a day is enough.
The leaves of guava contain flavonoids such as quercetin and rutin, which both have anti-inflammatory properties and relieve sensitive tooth pain. Take a few guava leaves and wash them properly. Chew them for about 2 minutes and spit them out. Try doing this once or twice daily.
Get six drops of clove oil and add it to one teaspoon of coconut oil. Stir the mixture and apply it on the affected area. Leave it for about 10 minutes then wash it off with water. Do this once or twice daily. The analgesic effect of clove oil numbs the affected tooth and the surrounding gums. This relieves the pain instantly, coupled with the present natural microbicides that kill oral pathogens.
The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects of tea tree oil make it one ideal for enhancing oral health. Get six drops of tea tree oil and add it to one teaspoon of coconut oil.
Stir the mixture well and apply it to the affected area. Leave it for about 10 minutes then wash it off with water. Do this once or twice daily, and make sure you don’t swallow the oil mixture.
Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel of the teeth and helps to reduce a toothache to a great extent. All you need is a cup of fluoride mouthwash. Take a sip and rinse your mouth with it. Make sure you rinse it very well for like 2 minutes before you spit it out. Do this twice a day for good results.
Using a fluoride toothpaste is recommended for proper maintenance of the teeth. A healthy tooth means there would be no pain associated with sensitive teeth. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel of the teeth and helps to reduce a toothache to a great extent.
Apart from following the remedies mentioned above, there are a lot of reasons to take personal precautions regarding dealing with the teeth. Handling the tooth well prevents an outbreak of tooth sensitivity in the future. Some basic lifestyle changes can enhance the health of the teeth and prevent the occurrence of sensitive tooth pain.
Follow these instructions to avoid tooth sensitivity;
There are also foods that are not advised to be consumed when experiencing pain from sensitive teeth. They include