Eliminate pain and improve your oral health

Wisdom teeth are the third-last permanent molars. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. These teeth are commonly called wisdom teeth because they usually erupt between the ages of 16 to 21, known as the ‘age of wisdom’.
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Why do I need my wisdom teeth removed?

The arrival of your wisdom teeth can cause pain or issues for your other teeth, especially if they become stuck or impacted, grow at an angle or only partially emerge. Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common surgical procedures in the UK, and performed regularly at our practice.

A wisdom tooth is impacted when it is obstructed from erupting fully into the mouth by the tooth in front of it or the surrounding bone or gums. If your wisdom tooth is causing you pain, it is important to get it looked at. Improperly erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and may cause tooth decay, sometimes even affecting the neighbouring teeth. Infection of the overlying gums can take place as well, resulting in pain and swelling.

More serious problems such as the formation of cysts or tumours around an impacted tooth can occur, leading to destruction of the surrounding jawbone and neighbouring teeth. These conditions may require complex and extensive treatment. As problems can develop silently, without your knowledge, a check-up with your dentist is advisable.

We can assess the impact of your tooth on the rest of your mouth and remove it if necessary, especially if it is causing unnecessary decay, infection or gum disease. However, some wisdom teeth will not need to be taken out, and can be managed with other treatments.

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What does the treatment involve?

Your initial visit to the dentist would include an examination of your mouth and X-rays to determine the position of the wisdom teeth, their condition and the status of the adjacent teeth and bone.

Wisdom teeth removal is a minor surgical procedure that can usually be performed with little discomfort. The procedure can be performed under local anaesthesia (with or without sedation to control anxiety) or general anaesthesia. Your surgeon will advise you on the type most appropriate for your needs.

During the surgery, we lift the overlying gums to expose your wisdom tooth and bone. If it is particularly large or embedded, we may need to remove your tooth in sections. We then stitch your gum back into place.

Once your tooth has been removed, we ensure you are feeling well and give you some tailored advice on what to expect in the first few days following the procedure. Following surgery, some minor bleeding from the wound can be expected, which can be controlled by biting on a piece of gauze over the operation area for about half an hour. Facial swelling and discolouration of the overlying skin will also develop, increasing for the first 72 hours and subsiding thereafter. You may not be able to open your mouth as wide as usual for a few days.

Painkillers, antibiotics and an antiseptic mouthwash are usually prescribed after the surgery. You will be advised to maintain good oral hygiene and also to keep to a soft diet for a few days following your wisdom tooth removal.

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Frequently asked questions

  • The recovery time varies with each individual patient, depending on the complexity of the case. In most cases, you will experience swelling and tenderness for the first few days, which can be managed with over the counter painkillers, as advised by your dentist. Many patients are able to return to their normal daily routines soon after treatment.

  • If your wisdom tooth is not causing any pain or discomfort, there is usually no need to remove it. Some infections can be treated with a course of antibiotics and the wisdom tooth is able to be left, even if impacted, and kept an eye on at your regular dental examinations. However, if the problem persists, or the impacted tooth is causing issues with cleaning your teeth, we may decide it needs to be removed.

  • We use local anaesthetic to minimise your discomfort during the extraction, and you should not feel any pain. You may experience some pressure as we loosen your tooth, but this will not be painful and should not take long.

  • The procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to around half an hour, depending on the complexity of the case. Your dentist will be able to give you an idea of the timescale at your initial appointment.

  • You should try and avoid eating hard, chewy or overly acidic foods immediately following your wisdom tooth removal. These can get lodged in the extraction site and cause infection or pain. It is best to stick to soft foods and drink lots of fluids at first. Your dentist will give you detailed advice on what to do following your treatment, including how long your recovery should take.

  • To prevent problems associated with impacted wisdom teeth, it is advisable to remove them early. The best time to remove them would be during the teenage years, before the roots of the teeth are fully formed and firmly embedded in the jawbone. Healing is also better during this period, with less risk of complications.

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