How do I manage wisdom tooth pain during the COVID-19 crisis?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth in the back of the mouth and are described as the third molars. There is one in each part of the mouth i.e. upper right and left and lower right and left. They are the last teeth to come in the mouth and usually erupt between the ages of 18 and 25. In most cases, the upper wisdom teeth erupt without much difficulty. However, in many cases, the lower wisdom teeth either do not erupt or erupt only partly due to the limited amount of space present in the mouth. When partly erupted, there is usually a small piece of gum [ called the operculum] that partly covers the tooth. In many cases, this gets inflamed due to poor hygiene, food packing and bacterial plaque or tartar accumulation. Such a condition leads to pain and is called pericoronitis [inflammation of the operculum].
In case of wisdom tooth pain where there is gum inflammation, in the first episode,
- Rinse the affected area with warm salt water mouthwashes
- Clean the affected area with a toothbrush [ ideally single tufted] and I recommend that this is dipped in some mouthwash before using the brush
- Take some regular painkillers
- Try and eat on the other side of the mouth and try to keep to a soft diet
- If possible, contact your dentist and inform them of the situation as they may be able to prescribe some antibiotics to help with the situation, especially if there is associated swelling.
Of note, if there is any associated difficulty with swallowing or breathing, you MUST SEEK URGENT MEDICAL ATTENTION.