Painful Wisdom Tooth

Painful Wisdom Tooth

If you are experiencing a dental

emergency, please contact us:

Regular Office Hours:

M-T-W-TH 8am-5pm F 7am-noon

Phone: 408-847-1234

After Regular Office Hours:

Phone: 408-505-5957

Wisdom teeth, officially referred to as third molars, are usually the last teeth to develop. Their function is to grind food as part of the digestive process. They are located in the upper and lower back of your mouth, next to your second (or twelve year) molars and near the entrance to your throat. They usually complete development between the ages of 15 and 20, a time traditionally associated with the onset of maturity and the attainment of Wisdom.

Soreness and swelling in the gums before a tooth comes through or erupts is common for both “Teething” babies and for adults, whose wisdom teeth are erupting. These symptoms may occur several months before the tooth shows, and they disappear as soon as the tooth breaks the skin. Many adults do not seem to be affected by erupting wisdom teeth. For those who do, mild symptoms that get better usually are nothing to worry about. Call Dr. Chan, if your symptoms become severe or do not get better.

Occasionally since wisdom teeth usually develop last, they may not have the adequate room to erupt and to become fully functional teeth.  This lack of room, called impaction, can result in a number of harmful effects on your overall dental health. When impaction occurs the teeth are unable to erupt into an alignment, which allows a functional chewing process. The detrimental results of impacted teeth include:

Infection – Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and swallowing.

Damage – If there is inadequate room to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front, the Second Molar, can be adversely affected resulting in gum disease (bone loss) or cavities (more appropriately known as dental caries or decay).

Disease – Non-infectious diseases can also arise in association with an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are fluid-filled ‘balloons’ inside the jawbone which are associated with impacted wisdom teeth and slowly expand destroying adjacent jawbone and occasionally teeth. They can be very difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years. Although rare, tumors can be associated with the delayed removal of wisdom teeth.
•If you are in pain and your medical history allows it, take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
•Rinse with warm salt water and floss around the tooth.
•Continue to brush and floss regularly.
•Eat on the opposite side.

You will need to see Dr. Chan for a wisdom tooth evaluation.

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