How To Treat Impacted Wisdom Teeth

It happens to most of us in adulthood: our wisdom teeth come in and wind up causing us pain. If your wisdom teeth don't come out all the way because there isn't enough space in your mouth, they can get trapped between your other molars and jawbone, leading to wisdom tooth impaction. Wisdom teeth typically appear between seventeen and twenty-five, and most adults have four wisdom teeth, which usually affect the positioning of other teeth as they emerge. 

Impacted wisdom teeth are painful and can cause infection as well as bone loss and other complications, so surgical extraction is typically the recommended treatment. If you're getting your wisdom teeth or have impacted ones now, here are the best ways to deal with them.

Surgical Removal


The most obvious and common treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is surgical removal. When wisdom teeth emerge normally, a dentist is usually able to handle the extraction. But if you have impacted wisdom teeth, your dentist might refer you to an oral surgeon who is more skilled in removing teeth awkwardly positioned in the mouth. Because one in ten individuals usually have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, extraction is a standard procedure a skilled surgeon can handle with ease. Usually some bone and gum, tissue has to be removed along with the tooth, which can make the procedure a bit longer than a typical extraction.

Many individuals get all four teeth removed at once, which is why they prefer to go under general anesthesia or have some sedation. Speak with your dentist or surgeon about the procedure as well as your pain management options and preferences. The level of anxiety you face regarding the procedure may cause you to avoid anesthesia or rally for it, so take the time to worth with your surgeon and make the best choices for you.

Pain Medication


Many patients who aren't getting their wisdom teeth out right away, may want to deal with the pain at least temporarily, so dentists often recommend over-the-counter pain relief medication. If your wisdom teeth are causing you unbearable pain, it's best to seek out a dentist and schedule a removal as soon as possible. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, which can be life-threatening in some cases, as the infection in the gums can easily spread to the neck and throat. While you're awaiting your procedure or just dealing with some aches, pain medication is a simple way to manage your symptoms.

Cold Compresses


Applying cold compresses to the face can help reduce swelling around impacted wisdom teeth and provide some relief. Gum irritation, cysts, fluid build-up, and other complications are common with impacted wisdom teeth. Cold compresses can also help following wisdom teeth extraction. Expect to experience some tenderness and swelling around the extraction sites, and applying ice can alleviate symptoms.

Less swelling means less discomfort, so invest in some ice packs or make your compresses. You can do this by filing a freezer bag with two cups of water and one cup of rubbing alcohol. Place the bag inside of another to prevent leaking, and freeze for one hour. Wrap it in a towel before applying it to your face to avoid burning your skin.

Consuming Soft Food


Food can get stuck between your impacted wisdom teeth and molars, causing infection. After wisdom teeth extraction, however, your gums will be too sore to handle solid foods. Nutrition is important to the healing process, though, so you maintain as much of a balanced diet as possible. It's best to stick to a diet of soft foods like broth and creamy soups, applesauce, yogurt, scrambled eggs, mashed fruit, and ice cream to speed up the healing process and reduce the risk of irritation. Stick to consuming soft food for about a week following your surgery.

Disinfect With Salt Water


Your dentist may recommend a salt water rinse to disinfect your mouth and help prevent infection before and after extraction. Warm water and a bit of salt effectively removes bacteria from the mouth and gums without causing as much irritation as alcohol-based rinses. You may also choose to use a salt water rinse to relieve a sore throat or to sterilize and disinfect your mouth in an emergency dental situation. Salt temporarily increases the pH balance in your mouth, which makes it difficult for bacteria to survive. Many individuals who don't have impacted wisdom teeth or other dental complications still routinely disinfect with salt water to promote good oral health.


    HealthPrep Staff