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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Wisdom Tooth Pain

Dr. Vincent Wan


Wisdom teeth are literally a real pain.  They can cause discomfort and swelling of the gum and cheek.  You may feel pressure on adjacent teeth from the wisdom teeth pushing on them.  They can get infected and cause abscesses with a bad taste and smell.

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come though into the mouth. They usually do so between the ages of 17 and 21.  There may not be enough room for them to fit in place so they can cause more trouble than other teeth.  It is thought that our jaws have become smaller over time as we have not needed to use them as much for eating with modern processed foods.  Wisdom teeth that would have been more useful for chewing unprocessed foods are now less needed.

Just the process of the wisdom teeth trying to erupt can cause pain as the teeth break through the gums.  If there is not enough room for them to fully come out into the mouth, they can get stuck or impacted.  Wisdom teeth which are impacted can continue to try and erupt and damage the adjacent teeth, jaw bone and surrounding soft tissue, such as the gums and cheek.  They are harder to clean which can lead to infections such as abscesses.  Infections can cause a bad taste and smell from the mouth.  Worse, they can lead to severe pain and swelling of the gums and cheeks.  You may not be able to open your mouth very wide because of this.

Painful wisdom teeth usually need to be removed.  Sometimes infections can be drained from the swollen gum tissue and antibiotics prescribed.  However, the infection will come back time and time again as the problematic wisdom tooth is still in place.  The best thing is to see a dentist to get your wisdom teeth properly assessed before they become a big problem.  We can determine if they will cause problems and need to be removed or they pose little risk and can be left in place.