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Oral Surgery / Wisdom Teeth

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’. 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.

Problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth

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 thus advisable.

Check-up and consultation

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.

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.

This 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.

The surgery involves uncovering the tooth by lifting the overlying gums aside to expose the tooth and bone. The tooth may need to be sectioned in order to remove it. The gums are then stitched back.

After the surgery

After 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 surgery.

To our Patients of NW London Smile Centre,

Our team have been working tirelessly to keep our Dental Practice a safe environment for you. As a Dental Practice, we work in an environment where the prevention of the spread of a whole range of infections is woven into everything we do. In addition to our usual meticulous cross infection measures, we have been paying particularly close attention to all government guidance and updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Given the unprecedented situation in the UK, we feel it is essential that we do our part to reduce the spread of this virus and so. it is with very heavy hearts that we have taken the decision to postpone all routine examinations, treatments and hygiene appointments. This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we feel it is our responsibility to protect you, our valued patients, our team and all our families.

However, looking after the health of our patients is our absolute priority and so we will be maintaining a remote telephone service advice for emergencies only; these include:

  • Severe pain for over 48 hours
  • Facial Swelling
  • Trauma and uncontrolled bleeding

For more information contact NHS 111.

We understand this is inconvenient and it may mean outstanding treatment timelines are extended but we will reconvene normal service as soon as it is safe to do so. If your appointment needs to be postponed, one of our team will be in touch shortly.

Thank you for all your support during these uncertain times.

Please stay safe, please stay at home and we look forward to seeing you all soon!

NW London Smile Centre