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What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the 3rd molar teeth and can erupt into your mouth from your late teenage years onwards.

Why do they need to be removed?

Sometimes wisdom teeth become impacted (or trapped) and can cause pain, swelling, infection or damage to the adjacent tooth.

What is coronectomy of a wisdom tooth?

This procedure involves exposing the wisdom tooth and cutting it in half. By removing the top part this usually resolves any symptoms and protects the adjacent tooth. The root remains in the jaw and usually causes no problems.

Why does coronectomy need to be performed?

When wisdom teeth sit too close to the inferior alveolar nerve there is a risk of altered sensation affecting the lip, chin, teeth, gums or tongue. In these cases a coronectomy is a safe way of solving the problem and not disturbing the nerve.

How is wisdom tooth coronectomy performed?

The procedure involves injecting local anaesthetic into the gum, lifting the gum back and dividing the tooth in half and removing the crown (the top part). The remaining root is smoothed down. Stitches are placed in the gum to help the wound heal quickly. The procedure can be performed under intravenous sedation if you are nervous about having it done. 

What are the risks of wisdom tooth coronectomy?

Most risks associated with wisdom tooth coronectomy are temporary and improve within 7 days of surgery. Below the lower wisdom teeth lies a nerve that supplies feeling to the lip, chin, teeth, gums and tongue on that side of the mouth. This nerve is not a movement nerve. There is a small risk that this nerve can get bruised during the procedure and it can feel different afterwards. This risk is much lower when carrying out a coronectomy compared with complete wisdom tooth removal. The other risk is that the root in the jaw can migrate and erupt into the mouth. This happens in roughly 15% of cases. However if the root has moved, it migrates away from the nerve and therefore is usually safe to remove.


How long is the recovery following wisdom tooth coronectomy?

Pain and swelling usually lasts between 3-7 days after coronectomy. Most patients can return to work between 24-48 hours after the procedure. 

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