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Wisdom tooth extraction - yay or nay?

(52 Posts)
MackerelOfFact Fri 15-Jul-11 11:00:37

I have been to the dentists today and the subject of wisdom tooth extraction was raised. I have one partially erupted lower tooth which is coming in at an angle (pointing towards neighbouring tooth) and another which hasn't come through yet but is coming in at the same angle, according to the x-ray.

I have been told it's up to me whether I have them extracted or not. They don't cause significant pain in themselves, but I am getting lots of head and neck aches which may or may not be connected. The procedure sounds horrible (she mentioned having to cut a 'big flap of gum' due to their angle <boak> and <wince>) and the thought of it makes me clench my teeth, but I'm not general needle or dentistry-phobic.

Any anecdotal tales either way?

spiderslegs Fri 15-Jul-11 11:32:12

Had all four of mine out under a general & the two neighbouring molars on the left had side as my wisdom teeth had caused problems with them.

Was dreading it.

It was a doddle. No pain, a few self-dissolving stiches, all healed up within a week or so.

Glad I had it done, was a huge relief.

MackerelOfFact Fri 15-Jul-11 14:44:05

Thanks spiders, really glad you've recovered well! I'm not sure if they'll put me under just to do the bottom two, she didn't mention it. Could you eat ok after the op?

LunaLovegoodIsOnTheGrass Fri 15-Jul-11 14:48:16

I had 2 out last year with a GA as well & it was great, absolutely fine. I hate going to the dentist, but it was fine - didn't feel a thing & healed within a week, same as spiderslegs

Go for it, I wish I'd done it before smile

mum23girlys Fri 15-Jul-11 14:53:40

I've had 3 out so far just with local anasthetic (sp?). The most difficult to remove was the bottom one and I've to get the other bottom one out once it's fully through. I had terrible problems with my jaw and struggled to eat prior to having them out and once they were removed these problems disappeared. It wasn't painful having them removed. I think the injections were worse! Anyway I don't regret it at all and even though I don't like to think about going back to get this last one out, I'm not worried about it cause I know the other 3 were no problem.

Good luck and I hope if you do get them removed that it solves your head and neck aches at the same time

AMumInScotland Fri 15-Jul-11 14:56:31

I had 3 out under GA, because one was causing problems, and the dentist suggested I get them all out at the same time as they'd probably give me problems later.

When I got to the hospital, having arranged my parents to travel hundreds of miles to mind baby DS, they gave me a consent form to fill which mentioned the possibility of them causing damage - eg damaging a nerve, leaving me numb or with my tongue paralysed.

Since I'd made all the arrangements and hadn't had time to think through the issue, I signed it and had the op.

I still don't have full sensation in one half of my lower jaw (16 years later) because they did hit a nerve. If I'd had proper warning, or not felt uncomfortable about making a fuss, I probably wouldn't have had it done - I'd have just had the single one whch was causing problems out and left well enough alone on the others.

Sorry to be negative, but the "oh it rarely happens" complications do sometimes happen. sad

MyCatHasStaff Fri 15-Jul-11 14:59:33

I had a top one out for the same reason as you (growing at an angle etc), and I wasn't great with the dentist so I was making a bit a of big deal out of it, but the dentist was really blase and said 'oh I'll do that filling as well while I'm there' shock. He was right. It was fine and I was being a dramallama grin.

MummyDoIt Fri 15-Jul-11 15:03:19

I have exactly the same as you and decided against the extraction. I was advised the operation can cause permanent damage to facial nerves. Admittedly, this is rare but I didn't want to risk it as long as the wisdom tooth wasn't causing me any trouble. I have to be very careful to clean it and floss around it to avoid trapped food causing an infection but so far, in about 8 years, it hasn't caused me any trouble.

MackerelOfFact Fri 15-Jul-11 16:08:39

The nerve thing worries me a bit, AMumInScotland. I'm really sorry you felt pressured into making a decision you regret. sad

I think I will go to the doctors first and rule out any other causes of the head and neck pain, as if it turns out there is another cause of this, I'm not really that worried about the wisdom teeth. The dentist said the one that's partially through was clean and healthy and not infected at all. It's just the skull ache that's bothering me!

Grumpystiltskin Fri 15-Jul-11 21:18:56

If it's causing problems, have it out (generally) if not then I wouldn't bother.

I'm a dentist and had mune extracted when i was working in the hospital, the lower ones were surgical extractions (where a gum flap is cut and some bone is removed) these are very routine by the way and I had them done one at a time under local anaesthetic (ie I was awake). The post operative period was uncomfortable (but no worse than bad period pains) and I coped with paracetamol.

Before I had them removed, I could only open my mouth wide enough to get one finger between my teeth, now (if I want to) I can get my whole fist in my mouth! I know that doesn't sound very exciting but the difference I felt in not having pain every three months as well as being able to open my mouth properly was great.

Numbness of the lip and/or tongue is a possible complication with the removal of all teeth from the lower jaw, it is highest with wisdom teeth however some of them are quite some distance from the nerve. The general rule is 1:100,000 people will experience a problem so it is rare but as you have heard, not impossible. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the risk asd it differs for everyone.

One last point, your dentist may be able to help with head/neck problems particularly if it's stemming from your jaw joint, so don't disregard us completely if you are investigating other causes of the pain (you could ask for a referral to someone with an interest in occlusal studies), maybe have a google for BSOS and that will give you some tips about what to look for. Sorry for the long post.

LunaticFringe Fri 15-Jul-11 21:21:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DoesBuggerAll Fri 15-Jul-11 21:26:33

I'm probably going to get one wisdom tooth removed soon (only have one - top left). I imagine it will be a hammer and chisel GA job since it's a bony impaction. Didn't know I had it until got some pain last month - probably from the other teeth settling after an extraction last year.

DoesBuggerAll Fri 15-Jul-11 21:27:37

Meant to say - I wish I'd had an xray many years ago and had it out earlier. I'm over 40 now and the bone will be that bit tougher.

Grumpystiltskin Fri 15-Jul-11 21:34:18

Top ones usually don't give too much of a hard time so I hope it goes smoothly (ps, I only know one dentist who still uses a chisel and that's for lower ones, I totally understand the rationale behind it but the thought of doing it terrifies me!!)

OldBagWantsNewBag Fri 15-Jul-11 21:39:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

reallytired Fri 15-Jul-11 21:45:36

I had a wisdom tooth out under local and it was unpleasent, but bareble. However the after pain and recovery period was horrendous. Ask your dentist to prescribe you some good pain relief.

Personally I would not have a tooth out unless it was truely necessary.

Grumpystiltskin Fri 15-Jul-11 21:48:01

the dentist had his knee on my chest to get more leverage

Did that really happen (I'm not saying it didn't, just curious) because I probably have one patient a week who says it did but never out of all the dentists I know and have known have I come across a dentist who has actually done it.

reallytired Fri 15-Jul-11 21:55:33

the dentist had his knee on my chest to get more leverage

Grumpystiltskin,
I imagine that a patient may well feel tightness in the chest with the anxiety of having a tooth pulled. I can see how a patient might think that a knee is being dug in their chest if they are in an extreme state of anxiety and have their eyes shut.

No one held me down while my tooth was pulled and the dentist kept her feet on the floor. No knees went near me either. The dental nurse did hold my hand though.

From a physics point of view the dentist would go flying if she/he had knees on the patient. The patient would either fall off the chair or land in a compromising position on top of the patient. Actually this doesn't bear thinking about.

Grumpystiltskin Fri 15-Jul-11 22:01:40

Well, we are told to keep conversation to the weather, especially when patients have had sedation as they can be prone to saucy dreams! If I have an elderly patient, I will occasionally ask them if they mind my nurse supporting their head as otherwise it can be hard work for their neck, that;s as far as "holding down" goes for most of us I think.

I'm chuckling at the thought of landing on a patient with forceps in hand.

I do understand the tightness of the chest though, thank you.

OldBagWantsNewBag Fri 15-Jul-11 22:06:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

reallytired Fri 15-Jul-11 22:17:04

"I do understand the tightness of the chest though, thank you."

I'm sorry I didn't mean to patronize you.

Eaglebird Fri 15-Jul-11 22:21:23

I had all 4 out in hospital under general anaesthetic (sp?) due to impaction and recurrent infections.
Op went fine, and pain killers dealt with the post-op pain.

I got an infection in 1 of the sockets a few days later, though, and the stitches in that socket came apart while I was asleep (I went to bed with a throbbing sensation in the gum, and woke up with gunge all over the pillow - nice!).

Antibiotics sorted it out.
I'm glad I had them out though as they were causing me no end of grief.

Grumpystiltskin Fri 15-Jul-11 22:28:00

reallytired no that's not what I meant! I wasn't patronised, sometimes it's hard to see things from a patient perspective so I genuinely appreciate the explanation. Sorry for sounding sarky!!

MrMan Fri 15-Jul-11 22:33:59

<awards Oldbag medal for Least Encouraging Post of The Year>

nolembit Fri 15-Jul-11 22:56:32

I had a fully impacted lower wisdom tooth removed recently and within 24 hrs was in hospital on IV antibiotics and fluids - my throat had swollen so much that I could not drink water or swallow a pill and I had an infection in the socket. I was very ill for a week and then just generally tired for several weeks after that.

I don't regret having it removed as it had caused me constant discomfort for 10 years. I wouldn't recommend an extraction just for the sake of it. Could your head and neck aches be stress related?

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