For some people, Wisdom teeth can cause a lot of problems. Others may never see a problem with their wisdom teeth at all. Wisdom teeth only start to emerge around age 17, and when they come in, there’s a chance they may become “impacted,” which means that they only partially erupt through the gum line—or not at all. When this happens, it can lead to severe dental problems.
That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs that your wisdom teeth are starting to come in. While annual X-rays can show evidence of wisdom teeth long before they come in, there’s no way to fully know how they’ll affect the rest of your teeth until they start to erupt.
By knowing the signs to look for, your dentist can examine your wisdom teeth and decide if you need to have them removed by an oral surgeon.
Here are five signs it’s time to have your wisdom teeth examined:
1.) Gum Irritation
When your wisdom teeth start to emerge, you’ll probably feel minor irritation and swelling behind your second molars. The amount of discomfort will vary from person to person—some people won’t feel it at all!
2.) Reddened Gums
In addition to potential discomfort, your gums will likely start to darken, sometimes becoming quite red, as your wisdom teeth start to erupt. Don’t worry—it’s most likely just another sign of gum irritation.
3.) Jaw Pain
For most people, the jaw pain associated with wisdom teeth will feel like a dull ache towards the back of their jaw. For other people, though, that pain can be more pronounced. If it’s severe enough, this pain can make it difficult to open your mouth or even talk.
4.) Bad Taste in the Mouth or Bad Breath
If you suddenly develop bad breath or if there’s a persistent bad taste in your mouth, it’s probably a sign that you have some bacteria associated with your teeth. Because emerging wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, trapped food and plaque can promote bacterial infections. If you experience this, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist right away.
5.) White Spots
If you see white spots on your gums behind your second molars, these are most likely the tops of your wisdom teeth breaking through the skin of your gums. That’s when you know it’s definitely time to call your dentist.
If you notice any of these signs, you should contact your dentist and have them examine your wisdom teeth. If they discover that your wisdom teeth are growing in at an angle or that they are likely to crowd your other teeth, they’ll probably recommend that you get your wisdom teeth removed.
If possible, you should try to have your wisdom teeth removed before the age of 20. That way, the roots of the tooth are unlikely to have formed, which will make the teeth much easier to extract and likely shorten your recovery time.
When you think it might be time to have your wisdom teeth looked at, contact StarWhite Dental. We’ll make sure you get the dental help you need.
A root canal isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, but the process is far more bearable than it used to be. A root canal is a procedure that can save the life of an infected tooth and stop the spread of contaminated oral bacteria.
In a standard root canal, a dentist drills a small incision through the crown of an infected tooth. They then use extremely small dental instruments to clean out the diseased matter from the pulp chamber, they reshape the chamber and root canal, and proceed to filling in the tooth.
A root canal involves the positioning of a foreign object into a small space surrounded by gum tissue and nerve endings. Working on these extremely sensitive parts of the mouth is what makes a root canal so painful. Although the dentist takes every measure to reduce a patient’s pain during a root canal, it can still hurt for a brief time after.
Bring the pain
Anesthetics are much more powerful than they were in years past, and dentists use local anesthesia to numb the pain their patients would otherwise feel during the procedure.
Of course, anesthesia wears off. As it does, a root canal patient typically starts feeling mild discomfort in the mouth after the operation is over. This is something of a delayed reaction to the contact with sensitive gums and nerves from when the dentist cleared out the decayed pulp.
Most of the time, this post-op pain is mild. It’s also mercifully brief, usually lasting no more than a few days, if that long. But even temporary discomfort is too much for many patients to bear. Thankfully, there are a few ways to mitigate the pain associated with a recent root canal.
Over-the-counter medications. Widely available, non-prescription medications are often all a recovering root canal patient needs to get through the painful aftermath. You may already have bottles of acetaminophen or ibuprofen already in your house. Most of the time a few doses of Advil, Tylenol, Motrin IB, or other pain reliever brands will do the trick. As with all medicine, check with your doctor to ensure that these over-the-counter medications are safe for you to use.
Avoid hard foods. Chewing on crunchy or tough foods — crusty breads, hard candies, chewing gum, caramels, and so forth — can intensify the pain after a root canal. They should be completely avoided for a few hours immediately after the procedure, and even longer if your pain persists.
Try stress-relieving techniques. Pain management is a great side benefit of some of the more well-known and popular stress relieving methods, such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, dance, or physical exercise. Doing these physical or relaxing activities in the few days after your root canal can take the edge off any pain or discomfort you experience.
Talk to your dentist if you’re still in pain. If your pain doesn’t go away, or if you experience continued inflammation after your root canal, call your dentist to get further advice or treatment. Root canals that take two sessions are quite common, so it may be necessary to schedule an additional dental visit.
Many people have certain anxieties around dental work, especially when it comes to intense procedures such as tooth pulling. Though a dental extraction may not necessarily be an enjoyable experience, it usually helps to know exactly what is being done and what to expect.
Tooth extraction can be deemed necessary for a patient due to a variety of different factors, usually relating to advanced decay or breakage in teeth caused by an external force. Most people imagine dental extraction as the simple removal of teeth, but tooth pulling is not the only form of dental extraction; in fact, there are three common methods that are used for different needs.
Simple extraction. This is the most well-known and commonly performed type of dental extraction. Simple extraction is what most people think of when they imagine getting a tooth pulled, as it deals with the extraction of the visible tooth as well as its root. Simple extractions are typically the product of an extremely decayed tooth with a compromised root. Dentists will typically inject a local anesthetic to numb the gum area surrounding the tooth, reducing pain for the patient. Contrary to popular belief, the tooth is not actually pulled directly from its socket, but is instead pushed deeper into the gum until the root dislodges itself from the jaw. This is the easiest type of extraction and it can typically be completed relatively quick.
Partial extraction. This refers to the removal of a tooth while leaving the root whole and undamaged within the jawbone. This method is relatively new in dental circles but is highly regarded for its positive lasting effects on tooth and jaw health. Removing teeth and their roots causes the jaw to become weakened, so a partial extraction can remove a broken or decayed tooth without harming the jaw (as long as any damage hasn’t spread to the root). Partial extractions are a great option for those planning to replace removed teeth with dental implants, as they make the implantation process go much smoother.
Surgical extraction. This form is often used as the last resort in situations where an extraction is needed but a simple or partial extraction isn’t possible. A surgical extraction refers to the surgical removal of a tooth or tooth fragment, along with the root if needed, that has sustained decay or damage below the gum line. This is the most invasive form of dental extraction, so depending on how many teeth need to be extracted, the severity of the damage or decay, and the patient’s anxiety levels, dentists will sometimes provide complete anesthesia as opposed to local anesthesia.
Simple and partial extractions are the least involved types of dental extractions and usually require the least amount of anesthetic. However, surgical extraction might be needed if the damage is out of sight or has spread to the surrounding teeth and gums. Though dental extractions may seem scary, they are usually virtually painless with anesthetic. In order to avoid needing a dental extraction, make sure to prioritize dental health and avoid external damage to your teeth and gums.