New publication shows uncertainty over the best way to treat wisdom tooth infection

Breaking news: A survey of 289 UK surgeons, led by Mr Geoff Chiu and conducted by Saving Faces and British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS)  through their partnership in the National Facial Oral and Oculoplastic Centre (NFORC), illustrates the uncertainty over the best way to treat wisdom tooth infection and recommends further research. The results are now published in the British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

When there is no room in the jaw for a wisdom tooth to grow normally, it usually emerges at an angle or gets stuck.  These impacted wisdom teeth often become infected, damage adjacent teeth or cause other dental problems. As many of you probably know, these wisdom tooth problems are often very painful for the patient. Sometimes X-rays and scans show that the root of the infected tooth is very close to a nerve and needs to be treated with extra care, as there is a risk of permanent lip numbness if the nerve is damaged during the procedure. These are high-risk cases.

At least two vastly different methods can be recommended for the same patient depending on the surgeon they see.

The surgeon could take out the entire tooth including its roots. This is known as complete surgical removal. An alternative operation called coronectomy is available for the 1 in 5 patients who are at risk of nerve damage. This involves removing the visible part of the tooth while leaving the roots in the gum.

The publication concludes that coronectomy may prevent permanent nerve damage in high-risk cases, however there is a gap in evidence and knowledge to support coronectomy. This shows uncertainty over the best way to treat high-risk cases. As a result, further studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of coronectomy.

Fortunately, NFORC is on the case. In partnership with Mr Geoff Chiu, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Professor Paul Coulthard, Dean for Dentistry and Director at the Barts and The London School of Medicine & Dentistry, we will be carrying out further research on 4,000 patients to find out which procedure (complete surgical removal or coronectomy) benefits patients more and which have more complications.

We would like to thank Ahmed Omran, who first proposed the research, Geoff Chiu, Amrita Bose, Roberta Maroni (our very helpful statistician), Jagtar Dhanda, Douglas Hammond, Clare Moynihan, Antonio Ciniglio and the reviewers who have dedicated their time and efforts for the successful publication of this paper.

The current perspectives of the surgical management of mandibular third molars: the need for further research” is now published in the British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, which you can read here.

Christmas Carols 2019

Thank you to all our supporters and friends – old and new – who attended this year’s Christmas Carols on Wednesday 18th December 2019, making it one of our most attended event.

We hope everyone enjoyed the festive evening and the beautiful music provided by the Chelsea Opera Group and their Director, Lindsay Bramley.

We are very grateful to the choir and the staff at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great for hosting the carols at their stunning church.

Iain Hutchison and Quico Serrano in conversation with Félix Losada at Hay Festival 24 Septemeber 2017

Professor Iain Hutchison talks to Spanish surgeon Dr. Quico Serrano, who volunteers his skills to a range of medical organizations in the developing world, and Félix Losada, Chief Marketing & Institutional Relations Officer at Deloitte about his foundation’s work and the challenges and successes of reconstructive surgery.

Read more here

Prof Hutchison collaboration with turner-prize nominated artists Jane and Louise Wilson, The Northern Echo, September 2016

Working closely with Professor Iain Hutchison, Turner-prize nominated artists Jane and Louise Wilson are exhibiting Undead Sun: We Put the World Before You a display of two video installations at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (Mima), one of the UK’s leading galleries for modern and contemporary art and craft.

Read full article here

Cinema screening in memory of Saving Faces Patron, Alan Rickman, 24 January 2016

The Phoenix Cinema in Finchley have offered to host a screening of “Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves” on Sunday 24 January 2016 at 12:00 noon.  This is in memory of Patron Alan Rickman and Professor Hutchison will be there to introduce the film.    50% of all proceeds will be donated to Saving Faces.

Professor Iain Hutchison delivers Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh lecture 25 September 2015

Internationally acclaimed facial surgeon Professor Iain Hutchison is to deliver the Dental Faculty’s Annie McNeil Lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) on 25 September.

Professor Hutchison is Oral & Maxillofacial Consultant at Barts, specialising in head and neck cancer resection and the reconstruction of patients with severe facial deficits following removal of cancers, traumatic damage or birth defects.

He founded and runs the facial surgery research charity, Saving Faces, which operates an electronic diagnosis and triage service to speed up specialist referrals for patients with cancer and funds the world’s first National Facial Oral and Oculoplastic Research Centre.

Dean of the RCSEd’s Dental Faculty, Professor Bill Saunders said: “We are very privileged that Professor Hutchison will be delivering this year’s Annie McNeill Lecture. As founder of Saving Faces, Iain has been a key figure in international multi-centre clinical trials on oral and facial disease and injury prevention and treatment. Professor Hutchison will be sharing
his experiences in facial surgery, explaining how the anatomy and physiology of the face relates to its physical, emotional and societal functions. This lecture promises to be a highlight of the year for the Faculty.”

The 2015 Annie McNeill Lecture “Voyages with my patients – A lifetime of facial surgery” takes place at the RCSEd, Wolfson Hall, Edinburgh, at 11.15am, Friday 25 September, followed by the Faculty’s annual general meeting

To register, contact