What’s involved in wisdom teeth removal or extraction?
Wisdom teeth are the molar teeth that grow at the back of your mouth, and usually come through between 18 to 24 years of age. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, others have up to four– one in each back corner of the mouth.
Wisdom teeth usually cause no problems, but if there isn’t enough space for them to grow they can cause pain, swelling, infection or damage to other teeth. Surgical removal (extraction) of one or more wisdom teeth can help to resolve these problems.
The wisdom teeth removal procedure is routinely carried out as a day-case procedure with no overnight stay. Some people choose to have their wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthesia. This means they are asleep during the procedure. Many people opt to have their wisdom teeth removed under local anaesthesia, which means that they stay awake, but the area around the wisdom tooth is completely numb. Sedative drugs can be given with local anaesthesia to help you feel relaxed during the procedure.
Your surgeon and anaesthetist will discuss with you which type of anaesthesia is most suitable in your case. Your surgeon will also explain the benefits and risks of having your wisdom teeth removed, and will discuss any alternatives to the treatment.
About the wisdom teeth removal operation
Normally, teeth are extracted by loosening them with surgical instruments until they can be lifted out of the socket. However, different techniques are frequently used to remove wisdom teeth, particularly those in the lower jaw. This is because lower wisdom teeth are often partially buried by bone and gum.
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your surgeon will usually make a small cut in the gum over the wisdom tooth, and remove some bone so that the tooth can be lifted out. The cut is closed with stitches.
Following the operation, you may have occasional bleeding from the gums, lasting 12 hours or more. You may also have some facial swelling, jaw stiffness, bruising and pain for up to two weeks.
The extraction of wisdom teeth is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure. For most people, the benefits – treatment of pain, decay or infection – are greater than any disadvantages. However, all surgery carries an element of risk.
There is a small risk that adjacent teeth may be damaged during the operation. Occasionally nerves in the jaw can be damaged, either by the surgery or by swelling afterwards. This can cause temporary numbness or "pins and needles" in the lower lip or tongue after lower wisdom teeth have been removed. In about one in a hundred cases, this altered sensation is permanent.
The chance of complications depends on the exact position of the wisdom teeth, the type of anaesthesia that you are having, and other factors such as your general health. Ask your surgeon to explain how any risks apply to you.
Is wisdom tooth extraction available on the NHS?
Wisdom tooth extraction is currently being restricted by the NHS in some areas of the UK and waiting lists are becoming significantly longer. For these reasons many people opt for private wisdom teeth removal surgery.
Why should I consider having my wisdom teeth removed at a Spire hospital?
Whether you have medical insurance or are paying for your treatment yourself, with Spire Healthcare you will be seen quickly by the consultant-grade surgeon of your choice at a time that suits you. You will be treated in a premium private hospital with some of the UK's highest standards of cleanliness and infection control.
To find out more about having a wisdom teeth removal privately or to get a guide price, simply