For many adults, dealing with wisdom teeth means having them extracted – but what do you do if you have a broken wisdom tooth? As the third and final set of molars to emerge in the mouth, the vast majority of us end up having our wisdom teeth removed but some people don’t need to have them taken out. Let’s take a look at how to deal with a wisdom tooth that has broken.
What Are Wisdom Teeth And Why Do We Have Them?
The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge and for some people they may only erupt in their early twenties. By that stage, however, most people’s jaws have finished growing and there simply isn’t enough space in the mouth to accommodate them.
When wisdom teeth present with problems, your dentist will generally recommend taking them out. In some cases, it is clear from an x-ray that the wisdom teeth are going to present with problems, even before they erupt and in order to save you complications later on, your dentist may advise you to have them removed before they emerge from the gum.
What Complications Warrant Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Because space at the back of the jaw is limited, wisdom teeth can present with a wide array of complications. In instances such as these, the benefits of removing the tooth outweigh any benefits to keeping it:
- Tooth decay
- Recurring gum infections
- A cyst around the wisdom tooth
- Problems with the jaw
Do I Need To Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
It’s important to note that only problematic wisdom teeth will be removed. If yours do not present with any issues, they can be left alone. Earlier is better if they are going to be problematic.
Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Painful?
Wisdom tooth procedures are carried out under anaesthetic so that you do not feel any pain. Once the anaesthetic wears off, you can expect some level of discomfort and may experience
But How Does One Manage A Broken Tooth?
A broken tooth must be addressed because damage to the tooth and tooth enamel can allow bacteria to enter the tooth. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the other teeth in your mouth and affect your gums and jaw bone.
Dental decay is common in wisdom teeth if they do not erupt from the gum straight or if there is crowding at the back of your mouth. This can cause small spaces that are difficult to access with a toothbrush. Decay and infections may also develop if the tooth does not erupt fully from the gum, causing an infection with the gum surface.
Your first course of treatment should be to preserve your natural teeth as far as possible – even wisdom teeth that you think you might not need later on.
What Options Do You Have To Save A Broken Wisdom Tooth?
Because of their position at the back of the mouth broken wisdom teeth are usually accompanied by dental decay. The extent of the dental decay will determine the most appropriate course of action.
Dental Filling Or Restoration
If the crack or fracture is minor, your dentist may be able to do a filling on the damaged area.
Root Canal Therapy
If the broken tooth is worth saving and has been damaged or decayed significantly, your dentist may perform a root canal, to remove the infected material. During a root canal treatment, the decayed matter is cleaned out and the inside of the tooth is filled up to prevent reinfection.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
In the event that the tooth can’t be saved, or if it appears as though the wisdom tooth will present with problems in the future, it may need to be extracted. This procedure is also done under anaesthetic. In some cases the gum may need to be cut through, or the tooth broken into smaller pieces if your dentist is unable to remove it easily.
The Importance Of Regular Dental Check Ups
Because it is so difficult to see what’s happening at the back of your mouth, and impossible to know what’s going on below your gums, you need to visit your dentist every six months. Your dentist will keep a close eye on the eruption of your wisdom teeth and recommend an x ray when they are erupting, to make sure they will not present with problems. The best line of defense against a broken tooth is early intervention.
If you suspect you have a broken wisdom tooth please contact us as soon as possible for treatment: (03) 8737 9359.