Q&A segment on oral surgery and wisdom teeth

Dear Doctor is a monthly Q&A segment launched by the Spire Roding Hospital. This month’s segment will be led by Mr Anish Shah, a leading oral surgeon.

To book an appointment or to find out more information call: 0208 709 7878. View Mr Anish Shah’s full consultant profile.

Do I need my wisdom tooth out?

Wisdom teeth grow at the back of the mouth and are usually the last teeth to come through, around the age of 18-25.

As the last teeth to come through, space can be a problem giving rise to the issue of the teeth emerging at an angle or getting stuck. This is known as an impacted tooth.

There are a number of reasons for the removal of wisdom teeth, including decay, gum disease, swelling, recurrent infection, cysts, etc. Your surgeon will assess each case individually. In addition to X-rays, your surgeon may decide to investigate the area in more detail with the use of a CT scan. Following this, a treatment plan will be discussed and details including a local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic will be agreed.

What are mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are painful round/oval shaped sores that can form in and around the mouth. They can vary in size from 2mm to 12mm and can be single or multiple.

Mouth ulcers are fairly common. There are a number of causes of recurrent ulcers and your surgeon will take an accurate medical and dietary history to help with the diagnosis.

It may be necessary to have some investigations such as blood tests. A number of treatments can be used once the cause has been established. Any ulcer that lasts for longer than three weeks must be investigated urgently.

Why is my mouth so dry?

Dry mouth or xerostomia can be caused by numerous factors including certain medicines, radiotherapy, mouth breathing, anxiety, dehydration, diabetes and conditions that reduce saliva production. Dry mouth can be particularly debilitating and can be a cause of chronic discomfort.

It's important to fully discuss the condition with your surgeon and investigations can be carried out to find the cause. A number of treatments are available and a particular treatment will be tailored to the individual. In some cases, dry mouth can be linked to other general medical conditions and thus these will be discussed and investigated  

I have been told I have buried roots

Buried roots are the remnants of a tooth that can remain dormant for many years. However, they can also cause problems such as pain or infection and in these and other cases, the roots will need to be removed. This may involve surgery to locate the roots. Your oral surgeon will explain the procedure and the best options available to you.

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