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Living a healthy lifestyle involves being mindful of what is put into the body and how this affects overall functioning. However nice it is for life to go smoothly, things are not always this simple and when the body throws some complications into the mix, having all the available information at hand is essential for making the right health decisions.
Although the majority of the population will never suffer from issues with their wisdom teeth, (35% of people are born without any wisdom teeth at all), suffering from impacted wisdom teeth can be extremely painful. Effects can range from headaches, facial pain, orthodontic and occlusal issues, and even TMJ disorder.
What Are Wisdom Teeth and Why Can They Be So Troublesome?
Wisdom teeth grow right at the back of the gums; most people will have four – one in each corner. They generally grow through at some point during the late teens or early twenties. This development can cause unique dental pain at this stage of life. Since the other 28 teeth are usually in place, the space for these new teeth to grow is limited. This can cause the teeth to grow through at an odd angle or only partially emerge. These issues result in the teeth being ‘impacted’.
When to Consult a Dentist?
Discomfort is not uncommon with wisdom teeth, especially when they are coming through, which for some people can take years. For those experiencing mild pain, there are ways of dealing with this at home, such as washing the mouth out with lukewarm salt water to reduce gum inflammation and soreness.
For those experiencing severe pain, a dentist appointment is recommended. The dentist will check the mouth, usually taking an x-ray to decide whether surgery is necessary. Often a dentist will suggest other methods to deal with the tooth before surgery is decided upon.
Along with Australia, the US has the highest number of routine wisdom teeth extraction operations in the world. The need for these surgeries is somewhat contested, countries such as the UK for example, stopped routine wisdom teeth removal without substantial evidence in 1998, after a study at the University of York found such practices to be unnecessary. This does not mean that getting wisdom teeth removed in unnecessary, but visiting trusted wisdom teeth specialists is recommended, as unneeded surgery comes with a cost and high recovery time.
The Surgery and Recovery
If a quality doctor believes the issues with the teeth are enough to need removal, then they will suggest a dentist or oral surgeon performs a wisdom tooth extraction. This is commonly an outpatient procedure, meaning there is no need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Often a form of anesthetic will be used to help aid surgery, which can differ upon the patient’s needs but is usually local anesthesia. The surgeon will make a cut into the gums and remove the problematic tooth, then close the incision with stitches. On average, the whole surgery takes between 30 and 60 minutes.
Most people can return to their daily lives a few days after the surgery, but it takes up to six weeks for the mouth to heal completely. Some pain and swelling are to be expected post-operation, eating soft foods will be recommended for the first week.
Just with any part of the body, if it is causing pain, the best thing to be done is to try and rectify the situation. For those suffering from impacted wisdom teeth surgery, when recommended by a quality dentist, it can bring many long-term benefits to overall health. Ignoring a problem will never be good for you.