Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to come through – usually when a person is in their late teens or early twenties. If you’re fortunate, they grow in healthy and straight. Sometimes, however, a wisdom tooth can encounter trauma that causes it to break or fracture. A broken tooth of any sort isn’t something to ignore and in the case of a broken wisdom tooth, it’s particularly important to seek urgent dental treatment before any further damage is done.
Why does a wisdom tooth break?
Because wisdom teeth are the last to erupt, most people already have a full set of teeth and often there isn’t room in their mouth to accommodate any more. As it tries to erupt through the gum, a wisdom tooth may find another tooth already in that spot. As a result, it may come through at an awkward angle or crack as it pushes its way out.
Wisdom teeth are more likely to crack if they haven’t erupted correctly. You may find it more difficult to chew with these teeth and since it’s harder to clean around a crooked or broken tooth, there is a greater risk of decay.
Similar to your other teeth, wisdom teeth are vulnerable to blunt force trauma, such as biting into something hard or an impact on the jaw. Should your teeth crack or pieces of your wisdom teeth break off, you are likely to suffer discomfort.
Broken Wisdom Tooth – Risk of Bacteria
Food debris and bacteria can flourish in the cracks and gaps of a broken tooth. A crack in a wisdom tooth is a welcoming environment for infection and a weak spot in a tooth.
Moreover, a cracked or break puts the health of the entire tooth at risk. Bacteria can attack the tooth and infect the pulp. In these circumstances, you may need to undergo root canal therapy or have your wisdom teeth removed.
An untreated infection can spread to the gum tissue surrounding other teeth in your jawline. It could even enter through the bloodstream and affect other parts of your body, leading to serious medical conditions and health issues. Swelling around the site of the broken tooth and nearby gum tissue, throbbing pain, and on occasions, a fever, are all symptoms of an infection.
Call your dentist right away if you are experiencing pain from your wisdom tooth or swelling. Treatment for a broken wisdom tooth usually involves an examination and an x-ray, especially if the tooth is impacted.
X-rays help the dentist to see the extent of damage, whether there is any decay, and the tooth’s position to determine whether extraction is necessary.
If your tooth is showing signs of infection you will be given a course of antibiotics to clear it up before any treatment can take place. Surgical extraction of the broken tooth may be one of the treatment options recommended by your dentist.
While it is possible to fill a broken wisdom tooth or strengthen it with a crown, you may want to consider wisdom tooth removal. On the whole, there are few benefits to keeping your wisdom teeth and they can increase the risks of breakages and infections.
Wisdom teeth removal – what to expect?
If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, our experienced dentist can complete the procedure in a single visit. Depending on the position of your wisdom tooth and how it has erupted through the gums, you could be facing a simple or a complex extraction.
A simple extraction is much like any other tooth extraction you may have had in the past and is carried out chairside in the dental clinic. For a complex extraction, an oral surgeon may be required to remove the tooth under general anaesthetic in a hospital setting.
Our dentist will talk you through the extraction process so that you know what to expect. We can perform simple extractions and provide sedation for nervous patients.
Once you are fully relaxed and if the wisdom tooth hasn’t erupted, a small incision is made into the gums to gain access. You may feel a slight pressure as the tooth is rocked but no pain. After a few minutes, the socket should have widened and the tooth can be pulled. More complex cases can take a while longer as the tooth may need to be cut into pieces, but typically wisdom tooth extraction is over quite quickly.
It’s crucial to follow any after-care instructions provided to help minimise any pain and discomfort and assist recovery.
Your mouth is likely to feel tender where the tooth was removed and you may experience some swelling. An ice pack gently applied to the affected area can help reduce swelling and ease the gums while over the counter painkillers will ease any pain.
Are you suffering wisdom tooth pain?
If you’re suffering from wisdom tooth pain or have a broken wisdom tooth, then make an appointment with Sandstone Point Dental right away. Our experienced and compassionate dentist will assess your situation and discuss the best treatment options. Call today on (07) 5429 5628 or book online.