Wisdom teeth are the teeth furthest back in your mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one on each side, top and bottom. Sometimes they are called the third molars.
A lot of people do not have enough space in their mouth for their wisdom teeth to come through fully like their other teeth. When this happens, it is known as impaction of the wisdom tooth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause several problems such as pain and infection, or even tooth decay in the adjacent tooth. This is because they tend to be more difficult to keep clean as they are far back in the mouth and the gum partly covers the tooth.
Pain caused by impacted wisdom teeth can be recurrent and difficult to live with. The surrounding gum can become inflamed and swollen and occasionally antibiotics are needed to resolve bacterial infections that arise around these impacted teeth.
If you have suffered with pain or infection around an impacted wisdom tooth or have developed decay in the wisdom tooth or the adjacent tooth, then you should consider having your wisdom tooth removed. There are other reasons to remove wisdom teeth as well, including if there is associated pathology such as a dental cyst (a cavity within the bone next to the tooth that gets bigger with time).
Wisdom teeth can be more difficult to remove than other teeth, and there are specific risks involved in their removal that you will need to think about. Our surgeons are all specialised in tooth removal and have many years of experience in removing impacted wisdom teeth.
If you think you would like to discuss having your wisdom tooth removed then the first step is to arrange a consultation. At the consultation you will meet the surgeon, who will outline exactly what the treatment involves and what the risks are for you. They will thoroughly examine you and then with the aid of an xray or occasionally a 3D scan, give you an accurate diagnosis and outline the options that you have to resolve your problem.
If you decide that you want to have your wisdom tooth removed there are three ways in which this can be done, and your surgeon will be able to help you decide which is best for you.
1. Local anaesthetic: Numbing injections are given around the tooth to make sure the procedure is comfortable and painless.
2. Intravenous sedation: Using a drip in the back of your hand or arm the surgeon can use a medication called midazolam to sedate you, making sure you are calm and relaxed and relieving any anxiety you have about the procedure. An added benefit for our nervous patients is that most people don’t remember the procedure itself due to the amnesic effect of midazolam.
3. General anaesthetic: If you need to be put to sleep completely to have your treatment then this can be arranged at the local Spire Murrayfield Private Hospital by one of our surgeons, Mr Martin Paley.