Wisdom teeth (third molars) are the last of the molars to erupt. These are the back teeth on both sides of the upper and lower dental arches that usually appear in late teens or early twenties.
There are patients that will never get wisdom teeth; there are others that don’t get all four and there is a percentage that will grow more than four wisdom teeth. Whatever category you fall into, one commonality is that these teeth are often problematic, and many patients are faced with having them removed.
By the time you are ready for the third molars to come in, there may not be enough jaw space to accommodate them coming in straight. Consequently, they may grow sideways into the jaw or erupt crooked. Many young adults are faced with their extraction to accommodate orthodontic treatment. Prevention is the optimum offense, but if an abscess occurs in a third molar, follow your dentist’s advice to deal with the infection, and follow up with recommended treatment in an effort to avoid additional dental complications.
For patients that get their wisdom teeth, and do not opt for their removal because they do not pose any immediate or perceived problem, there is always the possibility of having to deal with infection in one or several of these teeth. Due to their location, flossing and brushing these teeth may not be very easy, especially if they are crowded or crooked. This provides the ideal condition for dental decay.
An abscess is basically an infection that occurs when there is a breach to a tooth that allows bacteria to enter. A pocket of pus forms at the base of the root of the tooth; this is the abscess.
Patients faced with an infection of one of their permanent teeth would require a root canal to save the tooth. But since the wisdom tooth is considered non-essential, treating with an antibiotic to heal the infection is an option. But once the infection has subsided, removing the wisdom tooth may be the best option for avoiding future problems.
A hairline fracture or any breach of the dental enamel, like gum disease, trauma, or dental decay can result in an abscess. Any discomfort or pressure felt around a tooth should sound the alarm and result in a visit to the dentist.
Prevention is the optimum offense, but if an abscess occurs in a third molar, follow your dentist’s advice to deal with the infection, and follow up with recommended treatment in an effort to avoid additional dental complications.
If you suspect you might have an abscessed wisdom tooth, contact our dental team at The Dental Place and schedule an appointment today.