Wisdom teeth

A normal adult has 32 teeth in their jaws. There are 16 upper teeth and 16 lower teeth. Wisdom teeth are the last of the three back molar teeth to develop and normally appear at any age between around 17 and 24.

With the process of evolution it appears that our lower jaws are getting smaller so nowadays there is not always enough room for the wisdom teeth to come through properly and they often get stuck. This is known as impaction and the wisdom teeth is said to be impacted.

Impacted wisdom teeth do not always cause problems or symptoms. However if they do cause problems these can manifest as symptoms of pain and swelling and infection. Impacted wisdom teeth can also get decayed and can also cause decay on the back surface of the second molar in front of them. Occasionally cysts can form around wisdom teeth as well. Acute symptoms are often treated with antibiotics and pain relief. However if symptoms from impacted wisdom teeth keep recurring then wisdom tooth removal is indicated.

In some cases the removal of the wisdom tooth is a conventional extraction like any other normal tooth in the mouth. However if the tooth is impacted then a surgical approach may be indicated. In a surgical approach the gum around the wisdom tooth is cut and peeled back and any bone around the wisdom tooth that is causing it to be held in and impacted is removed with special drill. The wisdom tooth is then elevated out and the wound is then closed over with some dissolving stitches. At Langley Dental Practice we can offer this procedure under either a local anaesthetic or under local anaesthetic with intravenous sedation. If you require a general anaesthetic you will be referred onto hospital.

After the procedure there is some pain and swelling which is normal. The pain and swelling will tend to increase for the first two or three days and then settle down over the next 7 to 10 days. Because of the pain and swelling there is some limitation of the opening of the mouth. Therefore a soft careful diet is advised. The stitches tend to dissolve within around 7 to 10 days. Normal over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are required to help with post operative pain relief. There should be no mouth rinsing for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours vigorous mouth rinsing should be done with hot salt water up to 8 times a day.

There are some standard complications which all patients should be warned about and these are as follows:

  1. Infection.
  2. Damage to restorations in adjacent teeth particularly if they are large and overhanging.
  3. There is a small risk of damage to nerves that supplied supply the lip and tongue with sensation resulting in numbness to either the lip or tongue along with possible alteration in taste. This is a standard recognised complication of wisdom teeth removal which in very rare cases can be permanent.

Here at Langley Dental Practice we are specialist referral centre accepting referrals from all over the borough of Rochdale for the removal of wisdom teeth. This is done through a contract with the NHS. However our highly skilled team of professional dentists led by Tariq Drabu GDC registered specialist in oral surgery are willing to accept referrals for wisdom tooth removal on a private basis. Please contact our reception on 0161 643 2428 for further details.


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