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Wisdom Tooth Dental Emergency

A wisdom tooth dental emergency is usually caused by a large cavity in the specific molar, or a gum infection around the gumline. In such cases, you may need to visit an emergency dentist. NYC has plenty of excellent professionals that can help you, so you’ll be in safe hands. 

Both cavities and gum infections are due to the patient’s inability to effectively keep their teeth clean. One common cause for such problems is when food particles are trapped either between teeth or under the gum, which can cause bacterial growth. If the food sits on a tooth for a prolonged period of time,  the build-up of bacteria can cause bad decay. The same thing can occur when food remains under the gum line for a long period of time, which will often lead to a nasty infection. In either situation, whether a deep cavity or a gum infection, the usual recommended treatment is an extraction, which in some cases could require a visit to an emergency dentist. NYC patients don’t need to worry though as there are some fantastic and very experienced dental professionals on hand to help.

What is a Wisdom Tooth?

Wisdom teeth are the molars at the very back of your mouth; they’re the last and furthest, usually coming through during your late teens or early twenties. It’s for this reason that they get their name, as they arrive at a more mature age. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that they actually bring any extra wisdom with them upon arrival! 

These teeth are molars, which are used to help grind up food during the chewing process. Usually there are four: two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. But everyone is different and while some people have all four, some may only have one or two – or even none at all. This is completely normal. It’s also normal to feel a bit of discomfort as your wisdom teeth come through, but some people experience far more pain and it can lead to complications. This is where a trip to the emergency dentist (NYC) may be necessary.

Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth

Many cases see wisdom teeth erupt (push through the gum) without any problems at all. However, there are instances where issues can arise. This is usually when the tooth emerges at an angle and ends up pushing into the neighboring ones or the gum itself; dentists call this an impaction. 

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Sometimes impaction isn’t too much of an issue, and as the tooth emerges it could straighten itself out. But in many cases it can cause great pain and discomfort. For example, crowding of teeth can make them lean into the cheek, making it difficult to chew and causing friction that leads to ulcers and painful sores. While this can be very uncomfortable, it’s unlikely to require the attention of an emergency dentist. NYC is home to excellent professionals, who will be able to advise you on this issue upon booking an appointment.

Wisdom Tooth Infection

In some instances, crowding of molars or erupting at an angle can lead to nasty infections. This is because food is more likely to be trapped between the teeth and those hard-to-reach areas are difficult to clean with a regular brush. While we are all guilty of neglecting our flossing from time to time, gum health is no joke. The build-up of plaque can lead to serious problems, such as decay and gum infections like pericoronitis.

Here are a few symptoms to be aware of that could signal an infection:

  • Pain and sensitivity
  • Bad breath
  • Sore lymph nodes around the jaw
  • Swelling
  • Red, inflamed gum
  • The presence of pus
  • In some cases, fever
  • Difficulty swallowing and opening the mouth

If you experience these symptoms, you may need to call an emergency dentist. NYC has a selection of great services for you to contact.

Case Studies

While the previous issues can usually wait to see a medical professional, one of the most common dental emergencies caused by mature molar pain arises from deep cavities. In this case, the wisdom tooth has super-erupted because the lower one was missing. For this reason, we usually recommend extracting the upper and lower wisdom teeth simultaneously. If the molar continues to erupt, more food becomes trapped in between, which often leads to a nasty cavity forming.

When the pain is so severe that the patient requires attention from an emergency dentist, NYC professionals will usually diagnose that the cavity has gotten so deep into the enamel that it has reached the nerve. As you can imagine, this causes intense pain and needs to be treated straight away, most likely with an extraction. Once the affected tooth has been extracted the patient will feel much better.

Wisdom Tooth Cavity

In this situation, the patient had difficulty cleaning their molar properly, which led to the upper wisdom tooth being affected by a cavity. Over time, large cavities developed, which caused a lot of pain once they eventually reached the nerve. This is a perfect example of an extraction being necessary; the individual molar was easily removed, and the pain with it!

Wisdom Tooth Causing Gum Infection

Our patient was having pain and swelling on the right side of his mouth due to food getting stuck under the gum of his lower wisdom tooth.  Once the large molar was removed, our patient was able to reach full recovery within days. Usually, dentists extract upper and lower wisdom teeth together in these situations. This is because if one is removed while the other remains, it will continue to erupt over time and cause further discomfort.

Gum infection by a wisdom tooth

This patient was experiencing pain and swelling on his right side. Upon investigation it was found to be caused by their wisdom tooth. In this situation again, both the upper and lower molars were removed. Following extraction, the area was cleaned thoroughly and the patient was given a course of antibiotics to help fully eradicate the infection.

How We Extract a Wisdom Tooth

Although the signs and symptoms of an issue with these mature molars are easy for professionals to spot, your dentist will always take an X-ray of the jaw first. This helps them identify the root cause of the infection and indicates which one needs to be removed. However, extraction is a last resort solution due to its invasiveness and need for some aftercare. Before extraction, your dentist will ask you to prepare the tooth by prescribing chlorhexidine mouthwash, a course of antibiotics, and a soft brush. This will help the inflammation subside and you’ll be ready for the extraction. 

Local anaesthetic is usually used and, with a skilled professional in charge, the removal should be quick and painless. In some cases, such as if the tooth is deeply impacted, or for specific medical reasons, you may be offered a general anaesthetic like nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Once the molar has been removed, the area will be stitched up to promote healing. It’s normal to feel sore and swollen after this procedure, however, if you’re experiencing severe pain and notice a bad smell in your mouth, you could have an infection known as a ‘dry socket’ or alveolar osteitis. This occurs when the wound doesn’t heal properly and is more common in patients who smoke or have problems with healing.

Post-Extraction Care

After your extraction you’ll notice an improvement immediately, however in order to keep your mouth healthy and promote good healing there are a few aftercare steps to follow from your emergency dentist. NYC professionals will be able to discuss these in more detail with you, but here are a few suggestions that they might highlight:

  • Avoid alcohol and do not smoke for at least 48 hours following the surgery.
  • Eat soft food and keep the area as clean as possible for the next few days.
  • Take painkillers if the pain continues; it’s normal to feel tender after extraction but your oral health professional will be able to advise you on this.
  • After meals, hold warm salty water in your mouth to keep the area clean.
  • Immediately after surgery, bite on gauze to stop any bleeding.
  • Avoid sucking on a straw, spitting and excessive rinsing as this prevents a good blood clot from forming.

At SmileArts, our team of caring and understanding oral hygiene professionals have many years of experience in handling wisdom teeth cases. As well as being able to offer regular dental services, all our professionals are experienced as an emergency dentist – NYC is in safe hands when it comes to wisdom teeth and other dental problems! We understand how painful and, at times, worrying, such situations can be. But with our knowledge and skills, we will ensure that you receive the very best care and treatment – so that you can get back to life as normal as soon as possible.

What is a Tooth Extraction?

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Written by a real full time practicing NYC Dentist, 

Dr. Peter Mann.

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About Dr. Peter Mann

Having completed NYU School of Dentistry and a General Residency program in Kings County hospital.  Dr. Peter Mann has trained with some of the top world renowned dentists.  Being recognized in 2009 with a fellowship award from the (ICOI) International Congress of Oral Implantology and in 2012 with a fellowship award from the (AGD) Academy of General Dentistry.   

In 2009 Dr. Peter Mann decided it was time to achieve his vision by opening his dental office to provide outstanding dental services to NYC residents.  Smile Arts of NY is located  in the heart of Manhattan on E. 40th between Madison and Park ave.

Originally born in Ukraine, when iron curtain of communism collapsed his family took the opportunity to pursue the American dream by moving to New York. Dr. Peter Mann has lived in New York ever since, for over 33 years. His goal is to provide excellent dental experience for his fellow New Yorkers.

Dr. Mann lives minutes from the office. Patients undergoing treatment have his cell phone number and can always get in touch with any questions or concerns. It’s not unusual to see Dr. Mann arriving after hours to help a patient with an emergency.