Wisdom teeth or third molars are the last dental elements coming in your mouth. They erupt when you are between 17 and 25 years old. They are called “wisdom” because usually appear in the age a person should gain some maturity. Third molars are the last and most posterior teeth in each dental arch.
Some people may have third molars never developed (35%). Some others have more or less than 4 adult teeth. If a third molar remains under the gums it is called “impacted wisdom tooth”.
Third molars often erupt through the gums without any major symptoms. Sometimes the process can cause pain, swelling and bleeding. Easy home remedies can help you to get temporary wisdom teeth pain relief.
Two main situation can cause severe problems. First when third molars are not aligned so they can ruin the close teeth. Second, when adult teeth are not fully out. In this last case it is very easy to suffer because of wisdom tooth infection (pericoronitis).
Wisdom tooth removal is not the main rule. I will also describe you when desists think that wisdom teeth extraction is absolutely necessary. So let’s get started.
Eruption: symptoms and pain when wisdom teeth coming in
How can I know if my back molars are growing in ? What symptoms do I have to expect ?
Let’s see what happen in normal cases. If third molars are straight and well positioned, they grow in without pain or inflammation. In this case wisdom teeth removal is not necessary.
Even a third molar that erupt normally can cause you slight symptoms. Mild pain, feeling of pressure or dull throbbing in the gums are expected. Some pain is totally normal for wisdom teeth coming in. Pain is subjective, slight discomfort for some can be intolerable for others.
If you feel you cannot to face up to it, I will list home remedies and medicines to help you.
Here is how to discover if you are getting wisdom teeth growing in. These symptoms include:
Pressure in the gums.
This is the first sign your wisdom tooth is coming in. It doesn’t appear visible in the mouth yet because it is covered by the gingiva.
Redness, swelling and bleeding.
When a wisdom tooth is ready to erupt, it pushes against the gum tissue to cut it. It doesn’t happen in one night so you don’t have to worry because of a blood lake.
As the last molars begin to come in further you can feel additional symptoms. The spot after the second molar becomes redder and swollen. When the wisdom tooth crown cuts the gum a few drops of blood come out. You may feel the taste in the mouth. There is nothing to fear, they are just a few drops.
Toothache and discomfort
Pain from erupting of last molars can get worse at night. The reason is because the position of your body. You should avoid sleeping completely lying. There is a very simple pain relief remedy: just put additional pillows behind your head.
All these wisdom teeth symptoms appear for a few days every two or three months. The reason is that eruption of adult molars is not continuous.
Tongue and cheek biting.
Because of swollen back gums it is difficult to open your mouth normally. Eating, talking and swallowing may lead to accidently bite your tongue or your cheek more often. A straw can help you to drink easier for a few days.
Jaws, eyes and ear pain.
The are additional symptoms that suggest your third molars are growing. Last molars start to press nerves and this pressure can cause pain in other parts of your head. Except toothache, the most experienced are eyes and ear pain.
Last but not least, a few people may suffer because of swollen neck lymph nodes.
If you feel one or more symptoms listed above you should see a dentist.
After X-rays, your doctor evaluates your teeth condition. After a full visit, the dentist can tell you if your wisdom tooth have to be extracted or not. Regular dental checkups are important to track the growth of your adult teeth. Do not forget to visit a dental office twice a year.
Why did I get an infected wisdom tooth ?
Infected wisdom tooth is a risk caused by partially erupted or crooked teeth. It happens when there is not enough space for all teeth in the jaw. In this situation bacteria remain between the growing crown and the gums flap (pericoronitis).
Infected wisdom tooth symptoms are: gum swelling, pain and fever. It is not enough. Additional infection symptoms are pus around the inflamed tissue, bad breath. Unpleasant taste in your mouth is often in. It is not rare to see swollen lymph nodes in the neck. The pain can reach your ear causing an intense earache.
To keep swelling under control, your dentist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication (Ibuprofen). Painkillers (Paracetamol) may help you to get rid of pain.. Antibiotics are useful to keep the infection from getting worse.
All these home remedies work for a few days only. They are not definitive pain relief. The solution will be to get the infected wisdom tooth taken out. You should visit a dentist as soon as possible.
Additional wisdom teeth problems and remedies
When third molars grow crooked or are partially out (impacted wisdom teeth), they cause a lot of problems. Let’s see what are and how to solve them.
- Adult molars often get decay or infection because they are hard to keep clean (you need professional dental care services like teeth cleaning at the dentist).
- Crooked last molars push against your second molars damaging them.
- Bacteria around the tooth cause gum disease (gingivitis).
- Cysts can form around the partially out wisdom tooth. They damage the jaw and nerves.
- Infection may lead to tooth abscess.
In these cases there is one remedy only. The wisdom teeth removal.
How is the wisdom tooth extraction ? What are the steps ?
Before the removal procedure.
Before to get your wisdom tooth out, your need a X-Ray exam. The dentist evaluates the third molar position and its stage of development. Then your doctor is ready to describe you the full procedure.
The extraction of wisdom teeth is a common oral surgery. A third molar fully erupted through the gum can be extracted as any other tooth. A general dentist has the right skill to do it without complications.
Embedded tooth removal surgery.
The situation changes if the tooth is impacted underneath the gums or embedded in the jawbone.
In this case you need the services of an oral surgeon. The extraction procedure requires an incision into the gums. After the cut the dentist removes the piece of bone that is over the tooth. Then the tooth is extracted in small pieces. Why not in one shot ? The oral surgeon breaks the tooth to minimize the amount of bone to be removed to get the tooth out.
Types of anesthesia.
You will not feel any pain thanks to local anesthesia. Anxious people may prefer conscious sedation (IV sedation). It is a mix of drugs that relax you and block pain during the extraction procedure. You will stay awake but extremely relaxed. Probably you will not have memories of what happened in the dental office. General anesthesia is very rare and increases a lot the cost of wisdom teeth extraction.
The last step involves stitches to close the gum flaps. There are two different types of stitches. Dissolving stitches that come out on their own after three to six days. Non self-dissolving stitches that have to be removed by the surgeon after about a week. In the last case you need to go back to the dental office to have them removed. That’s all.
After the extraction procedure there is the wisdom teeth recovery time that is very important. You need to follow the dentist indications to minimize pain and discomfort.
Best time to remove third molars.
Now the most asked question. What is the best time to remove wisdom teeth ? The answer is easy. You should to get them removed as soon as your dentist detects problems. If your doctor thinks that your growing molars can create complications, that is the right time to have them out.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons AAOMS, young age is the best period because the roots are not completely developed. The bone around the teeth is not as dense. In short, there are less chances to get removal complications and the extraction price is more affordable.
How long does it takes to remove a third molar ?
Simple extractions can take a few minutes. Complicated procedures can take longer than 30 minutes.
Post-op recovery and aftercare.
How long does it take to heal after removing of my third molar ? What can I eat and what to avoid in my diet ?
How to deal with pain after surgery ? Are there any natural remedy to boost the recovering time ?
These are the most frequently asked questions about wisdom teeth recovery. In the next few lines, I’ll try to write the most followed rules. Your dentist will provide you with a complete aftercare schedule you should follow.
The first 24 hours of recovery after wisdom teeth removal are the most important.
The oral surgeon may place a gauze over the spot of the extraction and ask you to bite down firmly for about 45 minutes. This will help the blood clot to form in the empty socket. The clot in place stops bleeding (oozing). You should avoid to play with it using your tongue.
Your dentist may prescribe you antibiotics before the tooth extraction. Do not stop to take them after surgery. This will avoid wisdom teeth infection after removal.
Once at home
Do not brush your teeth. Avoid rinsing your mouth out using mouthwash after the extraction.
Ice wrapped in a cloth is helpful to minimize the facial swelling. Remember to do not keep it in place more than 15 min. Repeat the treatment every 20 min if necessary.
Dentists recommend a diet based on soft or liquid food. Allowed food can be yogurt, soft cheese, mashed potatoes, soups and pudding, At least for the first week. Remember to chew far from the extraction spot. This will avoid food to remain in the socket causing inflammation.
Avoid to drink using a straw. Sucking can dislodge the blood clot and cause a complication called dry socket.
Avoid hot liquids such as coffee, tea, soup and spicy food.
Do not smoke after the wisdom tooth extraction. The smoke reduces the amount of oxygen needed for healing.
Alcohol is not the best friend of painkillers.
Complication after surgery.
As any surgical procedure, removing third molars may cause some complications. We already seen the most common such as: infection, swelling and bleeding.
There are additional risks that are more serious. They are:
Dry socket is a common complication that occurs after the extraction.
After a tooth is pulled out, you will have a hole or socket in your mouth. During the healing process, a blood clot forms in the socket. The goal of the clot is to aid in healing and protect the nerve and bone below. This is what happen in a normal healing process.
It may happen that the clot doesn’t form, dissolve or move from its position (dislodge). In this situation the bone and nerve are not protected. Food, fluid and everything else that enters the mouth can go in the socket. The result is infection and pain.
Dry socket symptoms are: Intense pain that radiates around your face. Bad breath or odor from your mouth. Unpleasant taste. A slight fever.
If the pain last longer than 2 or 3 days, you should see your dentist. The doctor will clean the socket, remove food pieces and put a gauze in the hole.
A very small percentage of people may experience nerve damage after wisdom teeth extraction. It happens especially with lower third molars. The reason is because those dental elements are very close to the nerves that affect feeling and taste. If this happens, you may feel temporary insensibility (paresthesia). In most case people that experience this complication will recover by them self. In a few cases numbness of the tongue, lip, or chin can last forever.
Average cost of wisdom teeth removal without insurance.
Simple wisdom tooth extraction.
If the tooth is fully erupted and has straight roots the costs is about $85-$200. In this case the local anesthesia is used.
Impacted wisdom tooth removal with surgery.
The price to remove an impacted wisdom tooth can range from $260 to $800. The range price is so wide because there are different types of impaction. If the gums hide the third molar then a simple cut of the tissue is enough. This is the most simple case and the most affordable.
When gums and bone cover part of the last molar, the extraction price increases. In this case, the dentist has to remove part of the bone first and then the tooth. The most expensive case is when the wisdom tooth is fully embedded in the bone.
Additional services and costs.
The use of nitrous oxide adds $50-$100.
General anesthesia may add $250-$1000 to the total cost.
Deal and payment options.
Patients without insurance can look around to get different payment options.
You can save some money with a prepayment in full.
Other dentists offer no interest payment plans or low interest. It depends on the doctor.
Many dentists offer a deal for extracting all four back teeth at once.
Wisdom tooth extraction with insurance.
Wisdom teeth removal coverage by dental insurance may vary. The covered percentage ranges from 15 to 50. In other cases your insurance company can pay for you up to 80%.
Read your plan carefully. Look for the sentence “medically necessary”. If there are those two words, the company will pay its part only if the procedure is necessary for your health.
If your dentist is a provider under your insurance, then the company set the fee. This can make the cost of removal more affordable. Keep in mind that it is not the same with all insurances.
Wisdom teeth pain relief: medicines and home remedies before and after surgery.
If you are looking for wisdom teeth pain relief, you have 2 choices. Medicines (drugs) or home remedies You may look for pain relief when third molars are coming in or after removal. The same for swelling and bleeding.
I will list the most common drugs and natural home remedies. Please remember that before to take any medicine talk to you dentist. Just to avoid side effects and complications. Let’s start with medicines.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and painkillers.
Ibuprofen (commercial brand: Motrin, Advil) is an all-in-one: painkiller and anti-inflammatory. With this medicine you can keep under control pain, swelling and infection.
If you are looking for wisdom teeth pain relief and you don’t have inflammation, then Acetaminophen (or Tylenol) is more appropriate. Tylenol is an antipyretic so it can fight fever as well.
When you use medicines, read carefully the label for contraindications and maximum safe doses.
if in doubt ask your dentist.
Natural and home remedies for wisdom teeth pain, infection and swelling.
If you are searching for home remedies for discomfort and swelling, there are some old methods that can relieve your pain.
- antiseptic mouthwash with chlorhexidine.
antibacterial mouthwashes can help to both relieve swelling and pain, and keep your mouth free of infection.
- you can also do your own natural mouthwash. Put a small amount of salt in warm water and swish for 30 seconds. Use this rinse one to two times per day. A saltwater rinse can help clean infected gums. This can also help after wisdom teeth removal to avoid infection in the socket.
- Put an ice pack on the cheek on the side the dentist removed the tooth. Ice is a good home remedy to prevent swilling. Keep it on your cheek for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Never apply an ice pack directly to your skin. Wrap it in a towel to avoid to burn your skin.
- Garlic is another natural pain relief. It stops the growth of infections in the tissue.
- Lastly, you can massage your gums with your finger and some tea tree oil to get pain relief.
I want to remind you that home remedies do their job for a few days. To avoid severe pain and risks you should see a dentist as soon as the wisdom teeth pain comes out.