Oral surgery – tooth extraction, wisdom teeth
– by Dr Smyth
Sometimes it is not possible to repair teeth and they may need to be removed. The most common reason for the loss of teeth in childhood is tooth decay (dental caries). In adulthood gum disease is the cause of the loss of teeth.
When a tooth needs to be removed this is a relatively painless procedure with dental anaesthetic. Patients who are anxious about dental procedures can have a simple sedative procedure (a tablet the night before, and the morning of the procedure).
We recognise the importance of careful removal of teeth. A special technique is employed called a periotome technique. This has the following benefits:
- A gentle technique that results in the least amount of damage to the surrounding bone and gum
- Minimal post-operative discomfort afterwards
- Minimal risk of infection
- Fast healing
- Reduces the risk of bone and gum loss following tooth removal
- Optimal healing (usually 6 weeks) is beneficial if a dental implant is used to replace the tooth
What to do after a tooth is removed
After any tooth extraction or oral surgery it is advisable to do the following whilst healing takes place:
- Rest afterwards
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Have a soft diet, soup and bread, jelly and ice cream
- After 24 hours of healing rinse out with a mug of hot water and a teaspoon of salt
- Use your regular painkiller to keep comfortable
- Have a balanced diet including protein (e.g. eggs) and fruit and vegetables
After a tooth has been removed it is possible to replace missing teeth with either:
- A dental implant (usually within 6 weeks of the tooth removal)
- A bridge
- A partial denture
Wisdom teeth or third molars
Often wisdom teeth give us problems around age 21 years. A painful condition called pericorinitis can develop (Latin translation = inflammation around the crown). This can cause face swelling, a bad taste and a very sore mouth, especially when biting together.
Initial treatment includes a combination of the following:
- Careful cleaning
- Hot salt mouth washes
- Painkillers e.g. Ibuprofen
Assessment of the lower wisdom teeth requires a dental pantomogram, a large x-ray picture of the jaws. Then troublesome teeth are planned for removal with a simple sedation procedure and a dental anaesthetic. It is wise to rest afterwards whilst healing takes place.
Not all wisdom teeth will need to be removed. Sometimes it is possible to remove the upper wisdom teeth only (an easier procedure), or the cusps of the upper teeth can be smoothed of so they do not bite on the gum flap that lies over the lower wisdom teeth. This can mean that you do not have to have the lower teeth removed, simple treatment is always best.
Patients requiring removal of difficult wisdom teeth may be referred to a maxillo-facial surgeon, a specialist concerned with surgical dentistry.
Referrals to Dr Smyth for dental surgery
Dr Smyth accepts referrals from local general dentists in Liverpool and the North West for tooth extractions, surgery, wisdom tooth removal and dental implants. If you would like to attend the clinic please ask your dentist to refer you to Dr Smyth.