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Wisdom Tooth Infection...then another..but different side



Junior member
Sep 21, 2008
Around ... 6 weeks ago? I developed a feeling of soreness/swelling in the back of my mouth on my left-hand side. My mother/boyfriend etc looked and said it looked a bit swollen, but I thought it was my wisdom tooth coming through so saltwashed it etc..

But it didn't go away. So, hardly able to eat, I went to my dentist. He looked, and it took him about 2 minutes to prescribe antibiotics, a 5 day course of Metronidazole, 600mg/day I believe (I think that was the dose. I know that was definitely the drug, though).

5 days later I went to see him again and it was a lot better. It cleared up completely over the next couple of days.

I then registered with a different, NHS (big saving, the last one was private) dentist last month, and had to have a checkup in order to be registered. She said my teeth looked absolutely fine and I should have enough room in my mouth for emerging wisdom teeth.

Hurrah! I thought. Heh..until last week. I started to get the beginnings of "that" soreness...just on the other side of my mouth! So I thought I'd be smart and have it looked at whilst it was mild enough not to even need painkillers.

Surprise...NHS dentist gave me same antibiotic for 5 days and said it "wasn't too bad" (indeed not, I could still open my mouth! unlike the last time) and it should heal fine.

Well, I've used the antibiotics just as prescribed, and Corsodyl mouthwash and so on, and it feels no worse..but not better really, either. It's still sore.

Presumably I go back to dentist now?

I'm not keen on having teeth out, but I guess if this keeps happening it'd be sensible.

But my main question is, what happens now?! Different drug?

any solid (preferably reassuring) advice would be good.

On a scale of 1-10, first tooth infection was 8, awful, this one is a mere..2, maybe?..and hasn't worsened over past week. Both times, the upper wisdom tooth opposite has felt slightly sore also.

As you're in the UK, you most likely have enough room for the wisdom teeth to erupt into place. I'm not sure why that is, but it's one of those geographical puzzles that linger on in the back of my mind.

You might have to check back with the dentist and perhaps try a different antibiotic. Sometimes a surgical exposure might help in reducing areas that become infected while the tooth erupts. Otherwise you can also try some salt water rinses.
Thankyou very much.

It is curious, isn't it...and from reading US-based dentist pages, people seem to always need them out in America.

Weirdly, in private dentistry over here, people don't seem to have enough room either!

What is with that? Is it really a case of "I just want to get all the money I can"? Or is it actually NECESSARY that wisdom teeth come out, as a general rule? Seems very sensible if they cause you problems...but having them out just because they are there, when they arn't being a pain? Or is it...I'm suspecting..one of those issues that divide dentists?

thankyou for the question answer in any case..am going back tomorrow.
Ask to be referred to the Oral Surgery Department at your local NHS hospital...it could take ages anyway and then when you do get a consult, you can discuss whether it is necessary after hospital standard x-rays have been taken; and whether you want GA or i/v sedation. If they are impacted,,,I wouldn't personally let a newly qualified NHS dentist try to do it.

On the geographical difference ;)......you can rely on UK NHS hospital surgeons not to take them out unnecessarily (although they will oblige if you really want to be rid of them)..you just have to wait your turn..hence why best to get on list before you have major pain issues.

I'd love to be able to say the whole NHS v private dentistry were so clear cut..i.e. NHS =good private = bad......but it isn't - and I use private dentist in UK myself - you should be aware in switching from private to NHS that it is likely your gum health will be sorely neglected with even the most basic scrape and polish no longer an automatic part of an NHS check-up. The materials they can use are inferior for restorative treatments and a recent report has shown in England that complex treatments have fallen rapidly whilst extractions have increased which indicates that dentists are extracting teeth which could otherwise be saved. (One payment per course of treatment so you choose the quickest course to earn your units of dental activity - root canal 2-3 hours, extraction 20 minutes).

So NHS or private you need an ethical dentist you like and trust who does competent work. Ethical ones exist in both sectors.
But I don't think because it got infected once it should come out? I can't help but agree with the *if it gives you repeated issues, sure, if it just sits there, leave it* line, but. but but. Infection is never good.

NHS do I/V sedation?? Thought it was general or local anaesthetic and that was it.

If I get recurrent infections my parents will pay to have them taken out privately just because it'd be quicker (the wait, not the procedure) and in a more pleasant setting.

Until this point I've been private dental and healthcare all the way (except for GP stuff) so NHS isn't an area I'm very familiar with. It's just that I've moved out now, and my parents would keep paying for private dentistry but there's an NHS practice with a good reputation right opposite my door (and I'm epileptic and can't drive, so...) so I registered...
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You will get seen a lot faster if your Private. Plus you generally have more options on sedation if you feel you need or want it. NHS can do IV at certain places but from what I've read on here you might have to go on a waiting list.

When I was younger my NHS dentist was pretty good at fitting in emergency extractions, especially if I couldnt eat but with something like this where your not in pain at the moment you might get stuck on the bottom of a waiting list.

Sorry to be the voice of doom and gloom...Tesco do good dental insurance if cost is bothering you, so do boots and denplan and a load of other places online.
If I were you, I would have no qualms about having wisdom teeth out in an NHS hospital..the oral surgeons know their stuff. You can get a referral and consult and then decide not to go ahead if they haven't been causing you problems. In 1980s I asked to get referred for mine because they were very sore and there wasn't enough room for all of them. They left 1 in out of 4 because there was enough room. Has been fine since.

If your parents are just offering to do general private dentistry bills for you (but not GA hospital ones - expensive) and you like your private dentist, I'd take them up on it maybe and ask your private dentist for a referral to NHS hospital if you want GA. In theory i/v sedation is available on NHS in surgeries but the fee is very low so few NHS dentists offer it..some (often in mixed practices) will agree to do treatment on NHS and sedation privately.

Was the dentist you saw at the NHS practice a Partner or an Associate because alongside all the other points, the main downer for me, of my years of NHS dentistry was the lack of continuity of practitioner and their relative inexperience...they were usually pleasant people but I'd get a new dentist every other check up and after a while this becomes irritating. The older you get the less acceptable this gets....not all private dentists are wonderful by any means (we have had a few negatives reports on here) but you have 100% choice of private dentist whereas at an NHS dentist you have little to no control over who you see..for me this is a major consideration.
Also the world has moved on, in the 1970s..the differences between what was on offer in the private sector and the NHS weren't so great, but now as technology has improved you are looking at quite a basic level of care being available comparatively in NHS...maybe ok if you are young and have no issues with your teeth.

On your 'should I shouldn't I?' dilemma, no one can force you to get them taken out..I tend to agree with the UK view that unnecessary surgery is best avoided and only remove them if they are causing trouble or are very likely to cause trouble. I am sure some dentists over the way are on to a nice little earner with that one, but not all I hasten to add!
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Thankyou very much for such a good long reply ^, that's way beyond call of duty that you didn't have in first place! Sometimes internet restores faith in people.

Well, I've seen the same NHS dentist 3 times in a row now, I believe there are 3 partners there judging by signage?

I had a super private dentist, but he left the area this year...which was very annoying as I saw him from the age of 5 and he was brilliant. The new private guy who took over the practice and treated my first infection was OK, but a little aloof maybe? Not as approachable/likeable...seemed a little too keen to take all my teeth out (the wisdom ones) and to flog me the specific toothbrush brand he had on sale in the lobby, the cheapest one there being £70+....I felt a bit cynical.

Can wisdom teeth have a problem when they emerge and then settle down after that? Because I think the one that was infected has come through now..once they are "in place", can the situation improve?

I might get that referral, seems a reasonable idea if this will keep happening, its a pain. Literally. No one can know, obviously, so might be sensible to go see someone anyway.

I WANT I/V sedation over GA, God, any day, I was pleasantly surprised that the NHS did it..I would certainly pay for I/V (parents would too)..I am terrifed of GA. I had one when I was 7..it went fine, but now I'm older and can actually think about it..christ, no thank you.
Hi, I have had rwo instances where my wisdom teeth were infected to the point where I have fainted. I couldn't open my jaw and I had to eat liquid foods. Both times antibiotics have done the trick.

I am now at a stage where my two upper wisdom teeth are growing outwards into my cheeks and are extremely carious and need to be removed. However, my two lower wisdom teeth have settled down completely, and I have been told that they are fine and can stay. They have gone from being troublesome, to fitting in quite nicely, so I believe that yes, they can settle down and be ok. The key is keeping them super clean to ensure that all 'gum pockets' are clean and free of food debris to minimise the risk of decay. I have not been lucky with my uppers because of their positioning and partial eruption, hence they have to come out.

I'm currently on a waiting list having been referred on the NHS and was told yesterday that the waiting time from referral to assessment consultation 'Depends on how busy the dentist is' and is therefore indefinite, and the time between assessment consultation and treatment is 6 months. I'm having a hard time getting my head around this one due to how much pain I'm in.

I have also been told that IV sedation is not readily available on the NHS, nor is GA even considered unless there are complications that would make it dangerous for a dentist to perform the extraction. I have had one or two 'complications' shall we say, and so I am reluctant to let a dentist perform the extraction. I have already and will at my assessment consultation, request that this is carried out in a hospital by a Maxillofacial/Oral Surgeon but I am not yet sure whether this will be possible or whether I will have to pay for the privilege.

H :-*