A wisdom tooth (also called the third molar) is the last type of tooth to grow into place. We generally have four wisdom teeth, which arrive in our late teens, or early twenties.
They can be fine, although are a quirk of nature, in so far as lack of space for them to sit well is common. Bringing horizontal, or angular misalignment, or impacted teeth, which fail to break through the jaw, or gum.
Impacted teeth can become infected, bringing pain and swelling, misaligned wisdom teeth make cleaning awkward, leading to decay, including to adjacent teeth. Both risk cysts, bone loss, nerve damage, or periodontal disease.
At least one impacted wisdom tooth is almost normal, yet should not be treated as normal. Having your wisdom teeth assessed by a maxillofacial surgeon makes sense and can avoid future issues, or solve any you have.
A Personal Assessment
If you have immediate problems with your wisdom teeth, removal is likely to be the solution. Whilst removing apparently trouble free teeth may seem odd, this can still make sense looking forward.
Your consultant will use x-rays and physical examination, along with their experience, to identify a likely growth path and judge the need for removal.
A tooth may be stuck, or fully impacted, your mouth unable to make room. One which has broken through could be growing at an angle, liable to push against nearby teeth and cause damage.
One factor to bear in mind is that apart from the direct damage risk, time acts against you. As you age, your jawbone gets harder, making teeth more difficult to extract and risking greater damage to the area.
Potential nerve damage needs consideration before extraction in a few cases and will be assessed by your consultant. An unusual issue but if you are at risk, this will be discussed and suitable procedures adopted.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
In most cases, wisdom tooth removal is not a major task, or takes too long. Local anaesthesia may be fine, which can be used in conjunction with intravenous sedation to reduce anxiety. General anaesthesia is also available.
An impacted wisdom tooth by nature requires deeper surgery, to cut the gum and remove any bone above the tooth. This is again not too invasive, although stitches are likely to be required, self dissolving, or removed a week later.
A little bleeding is common after dental surgery, which can be stemmed with a gauze pad and gentle pressure if not stopping naturally. Rinsing with warm salt water for a few days will keep the area clean and help avoid infection.
Depending on sedation choice, you may need to be collected and take time off work. The latter not a bad idea for the rest of the day after any type of wisdom tooth extraction.
You may feel a changed sensation, tingling, or numbness in your lips, tongue, or cheek. The nerves supplying them are close to your lower wisdom teeth, an aspect carefully considered and the feeling is normally quite short term.
Care At Our Clinic
A need for skilled assessment and understanding of related risk is critical to wisdom tooth decisions. The reason we ensure you see a consultant maxillofacial surgeon at stage one.
They will also be there for you if any wisdom teeth need to be removed, alongside matching facilities. At a London clinic with the finest equipment, sterilisation and safety procedures.
Every staff member you deal with will understand your case and support our ethos of excellent personal care. If we can help with current, or potential wisdom tooth issues, please get in touch at any time.