Wisdom teeth (or third molars) are the last set of teeth that come through (erupt). There are usually 4 wisdom teeth – one in each corner of your mouth. Generally, they erupt during the late teens or twenties.
Sometimes, there is insufficient space for the wisdom teeth to erupt into their normal position. This means that they may erupt at an angle (impacted) or only come through partially (partial eruption).
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
An impacted wisdom tooth may cause no problems at all. Commonly, however, impaction can make effective oral hygiene around the area very difficult leading to the build-up of food and bacteria. This can lead to several complications:
Pain and discomfort
Decay of the wisdom tooth
Decay of the molar in front of the wisdom tooth
Gum inflammation and soreness (pericoronitis)
An incorrectly angled wisdom tooth may also damage the molar in front of it.
The treatment options for impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted teeth require no treatment if they are healthy and are causing no problems.
Simple local measures can sometimes be the only required treatment. These include improved oral hygiene and the use of an antiseptic mouthwash.
Finally, some impacted teeth will need removal. Removal of wisdom teeth is not without risk. Therefore, their removal is only recommended if advised by your dentist.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Process
Generally, the more impacted the wisdom tooth is, the more complex the procedure to remove it. An important nerve in the lower jaw can sometimes be very intimately related to the wisdom tooth which will make its removal more risky.
Your dentist will take an x-ray of the wisdom tooth to determine how complex and risky the procedure might be. They may then decide to refer you to a specialist oral surgeon.
In cases where there is a nerve lying in close relationship to the wisdom tooth, a coronectomy may be the preferred treatment option in order to eliminate the risk of injury to that nerve.
The removal of wisdom teeth is usually performed under local anaesthetic. An incision is made in the gum and the bone encasing the wisdom tooth is carefully removed. The wisdom tooth is sometimes divided into smaller pieces and each piece is removed. You are likely to need some stitches afterwards.
You may experience some discomfort and swelling for a few days after the procedure. Your dentist will advise you on measures that can be taken to alleviate any symptoms and to help prevent an infection from developing.
Possible complications of Wisdom Tooth removal
Dry Socket – A common complication is an infection in the empty tooth socket. This is more likely to occur if the procedure was lengthy and/or difficult, if you smoke and in the absence of appropriate socket after-care.
Damage to the adjacent molar tooth
Nerve Damage – Damage to the nerves that are positioned close to the roots of lower wisdom teeth. This can result in debilitating temporary or permanent numbness in the tongue, teeth, gums, lower lip and chin.
Careful planning and excellent technical skill by your dentist will reduce the risk of complications.
Wisdom Tooth Claims
Wisdom tooth extraction, when performed by a skilled and experienced dentist is predominantly a straightforward experience. It does however involve a certain amount of aftercare – this responsibility will lie with the patient and is to reduce the risk of infection and complication.
For many people, having their wisdom teeth extracted is a positive experience, relieving them of any pain or discomfort that can sometimes arise due to infection or eruption (the teeth growing through) but unfortunately dentists can make mistakes.
If you feel that your dentist has failed to provide you with a high level of care or believe they have caused you injury due to dental negligence you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Contact the Dental Law Partnership
Our specialist dental negligence solicitors have helped many patients claim compensation for their botched or under par wisdom tooth extractions.
If you have been injured due to dental negligence, you deserve compensation for your injuries and The Dental Law Partnership is proudly accredited by Lexcel as an industry leader. Our solicitors have a proven track record of helping victims claim compensation for wisdom tooth extraction issues and are available to help you bring about a successful compensation claim today.