My son is away at college and is in need of a dentist pronto. I do not know what to do and am kicking myself for not taking care of his wisdom teeth before he went away. He has always had impacted wisdom teeth but his dentist said unless they were bothering him there was nothing we needed to do. They weren’t bothering him so we left them alone. Now that he’s away, his face is swollen and his mouth hurts. If I sent him to an emergency dentist would they be willing to take care of his wisdom teeth?
Please don’t beat yourself up. You followed your dentist’s advice. There was no way to know that it would blow up when he was away from home. These things just seem to happen at the worst moments possible. The pain does not necessarily equate to him needing to get his wisdom teeth removed. There are other issues which can be causing this swelling.
It is possible that there is another tooth which is the source of the problem and it is referred pain in the area of his wisdom tooth. Another possibility is that he is actually dealing with pericoronitis. This is when the wisdom tooth is trying to come through but is still partially impacted in bone. Sometimes, a piece of gum tissue remains over the top of the tooth, which can trap plaque and food debris. This can cause pain, swelling, and even infections.
In the case of pericoronitis, a salt water rinse of ¼ tsp table salt dissolved into an 8 oz. glass of warm water can help keep the area clean. If there is something more substantial going on, then the gum tissue covering the tooth can be removed to reduce the possibility of a repeat problem. Additionally, an antibiotic can be prescribed to deal with the infection at the same time.
He needs to have an x-ray in order to get the proper diagnosis. The treatment can result in everything from a deep cleaning, to a root canal treatment, all the way up to wisdom tooth extraction. An emergency dentist can get him out of pain and may even have time to do a root canal treatment, though often they will schedule that for several days later. In the case of wisdom tooth removal, the dentist will either schedule that or refer him to an oral surgeon depending on the position of the impaction.
This blog is brought to you by Ahwatukee Dentist Dr. Harveer Kaur.