Wisdom Teeth. Mr Omar Hussain answers your FAQs...
Mr Omar Hussain, Consultant Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
Claremont Clinics: Saturday AM
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to come through and are the teeth at the back of your mouth (the third molar teeth).
What is an impacted wisdom tooth?
By our mid-twenties, they usually come through (erupt) and sometimes, there is not enough space for them. Some remain buried in the jaws, but others start to come through and get stuck (impacted) against the next tooth, bone or gum.
Why should wisdom teeth be removed?
Removal of impacted wisdom teeth is advised usually if there is repeated discomfort and/or infection around them. Teeth which are partly through are difficult to keep clean so the wisdom tooth and the next tooth to it can decay and cause cheek biting. Only patients who have diseased wisdom teeth, or other problems with their mouth should have their wisdom teeth removed. Sometimes a non-problematic wisdom tooth is associated with a disease or condition (cysts or tumours) or is part of other surgery.
Are there any problems with having wisdom teeth removed?
Removal of wisdom teeth is a routine procedure but you will have some swelling and stiffness of your jaw for about a week after your operation. In lower wisdom teeth extraction(s), sometimes you can experience temporary tingling, numbness or altered sensation of your lower lip, chin tongue or inside of the cheek. This is because nerves that supply these areas with feeling lies beside/under the wisdom teeth and can get bruised during the operation.
Other warnings related to wisdom teeth extraction include pain, bleeding, hypersensitivity of adjacent teeth, swelling and bruising, infection/dry socket (dead bone), damage to nearby teeth and sinus problems.
All of the risks and benefits will be explained to you prior to any procedure being undertaken.
What are the benefits of surgery?
Removal of a wisdom tooth should eliminate the symptoms (usually pain, swelling and recurrent infections) related to that tooth. Wisdom teeth are generally only removed if they are causing problems https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta1
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Over the counter painkillers can help control mild pain and mouth rinses with warm, salty water or mouthwash (chlorhexidine) can also help. In cases of infection, antibiotics are often prescribed. Operculectomy (cutting the overlying gum) in case of partially erupted wisdom teeth can be an option but these measures give only temporary relief of symptoms as they do not treat the underlying cause. In selected cases, coronectomy can be offered where only the crown is removed, leaving the roots in the tooth socket. If this is an option, your surgeon will discuss this with you.
How will my wisdom teeth be removed?
Many patients have their wisdom teeth removed painlessly with an injection to numb the gum (local anaesthetic). Some teeth are removed under general anaesthetic while you are asleep, or occasionally with local anaesthetic and sedation, to help you relax during the procedure.
How soon will I recover?
In case of general anaesthetic or sedation, you are discharged on the same day provided there is someone to look after you for the first 24hrs. You should avoid doing any strenuous activities for the first 48 hours to reduce the risk of bleeding, swelling and bruising and you may need up to a 3-7 days off work.
A private consultation with Mr Hussain at Claremont is £185 if you don't have health insurance. To book an appointment, call our friendly Private Patient Team on 0114 263 2114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need a referral letter from your GP or Dentist or you can see one of our Private GPs quickly for this if you prefer.
Copyright Omar Hussain, 2017.