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Wisdom tooth being removed in 50's - worried



Junior member
Jun 12, 2016
Hi. I have just discovered this valuable resource and am hoping for some friendly help/advice.

i am in my early 50's and all 4 of my wisdom teeth are impacted, have never come through and have never given me any issues. Last year, a hole started to develop over my bottom left wisdom tooth which has gradually increased in size. The tooth is now quite exposed. My dentist has been keeping an eye on it and advised me to use a single tufted brush etc.

in recent months, the area has been difficult to keep clean as it is a pretty deep pocket and I have been getting some bleeding. To cut a long story short, I was referred to an oral surgeon and had a consultation a couple of days ago. Seems the bone has worn that was covering the tooth which has led to the gum opening up, exposing the tooth.

The surgeon advised that I could try using a water pik, but this would take a lot of effort and no guarantees of keeping it clean. Removing it will require a general anaesthetic and be about a 40min procedure, cutting the tooth into sections etc. He said it is a difficult tooth but he has dealt with worse. He gave me the usual warnings about possible nerve damage......in my case not the lingual nerve to the tongue but the possibility of the other nerve for cheek/lip etc. He said he takes every care and if it is particularly difficult, he sometimes leaves part of the root if it is deeply buried but this would be something he would assess when doing the procedure. I asked about coronectomy and he explained that he isn't a fan of this.

i have bought a water pik, but it seems to me that the tooth needs to come out. Logic tells me that if I don't go through with it now, if I get problems with it in later years, it will just be a worse thing to deal with. The fear of nerve damage scares the hell out of me (he wouldn't quote statistics) and I hate the idea of having this done. I've researched the surgeon and he has a top reputation........it will also be in a private hospital. Think I will get summer out of the way and do this in September.

Am I doing the right thing? Any advice/suggestions? Many thanks.
If it was me I'd get it done..otherwise you risk food getting trapped, infections etc wisdoms are nasty teeth! Plus even if you avoid infections it's still just surviving and not thriving. My wisdom tooth was removed, the pain it was causing was unimaginable, if you have the option to remove them then do it, my nerve was abnormally close to my wisdom tooth aswell...the oral surgeon advised me to get a 3D scan done first before extraction because of the nerve but I declined...it was too painful to wait months for a scan, I had no complications, if he's a skilled surgeon I'd trust him :)
Thank you for your words of support. I am really going out of my mind imagining the worst. I am in communication by email with the surgeon and asked about the CT etc. The following is the response to the question, which I'm not sure whether it makes me feel better or worse. I also can't get my head around the temporary vs. Per,aren't statistics.......

"A CT scan would, in my experience, have little influence on preventing the risk of nerve injury. We know from your plain radiograph that you have a difficult impacted wisdom tooth that carries a higher than average risk of nerve injury. Localisation of the nerve on a CT scan, in my experience doesn't reduce the risk of nerve injury. As a technical adjunct I do no find a scan offers a lot of useful additional information in these circumstances.
Appreciate any help here guys......please. Feel I'm caught between a rock and a hard place.

Surgeon assesses my risk of left alveolar nerve damage as 'moderately high'
Position of partially erupted tooth is unfavourable.
He would approach the surgery with 'appropriate cauthion'
If root mass found to be ankylosed and non mobile, some retained root fragments would be left rather than compromise the nerve.

I am at my wits end with worry about nerve damage. He won't give any statistics and it is a risk I need to accept.

Am am using the water pik which has helped but whenever I eat, food gets trapped. Feel if I leave it, it could end up being worse if the tooth was to become infected or decayed etc.

I have booked the surgery for a couple of months time. I know there is no magic bullet, but am I doing the right thing?
If if was me I would, leaving it would cause more issues longterm? :( if it got badly infected due to the food it would definitely need to come out
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If you've researched the surgeon and he has a good reputation that is a good start. From what you have written it sounds like the surgeon knows the risks and has a cautious approach which is in your favour. Whilst using a water pik short term is a good move I think that the tooth has to be removed so going through with it now whilst things are still good as opposed to the tooth decaying or causing other issues + having to get it removed later is a smarter approach