A number of conditions may require Oral Surgery intervention to either solve a problem or as one part of the treatment plan.
There are times when it is necessary to extract or remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should. The baby tooth must be removed to allow for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay and infection. If there is not enough of the tooth left to place a filling or crown and save the tooth (always the first choice), our doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
How is a Tooth Extracted?
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, our dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may schedule another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth within your jawbone is encased in a "tooth socket," and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, our dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place.
While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to mention any of your concerns or preferences for sedation. After your extraction, you will be given instructions on how to ensure you are healing well.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift and cause problems with chewing or your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, it is recommend that you replace the extracted tooth. Talk with our dentist about how to manage the space left by an extracted tooth.
Wisdom teeth are types of molars found in the very back of your mouth. These teeth usually appear in late teens or early twenties but may become impacted and fail to erupt due to lack of room in the jaw or the angle of their entry. The most common type of impacted wisdom tooth is “mesial”, meaning that the tooth is angled forward toward the front of your mouth.
When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it is unable to erupt and usually needs to be surgically removed. Otherwise, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain.
Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to:
- Be quite difficult to clean and floss
- Pressure and impact your bite
- Be susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease
Each patient's situation is unique. Usually a panoramic X-ray will be taken to evaluate your wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the roots of these teeth have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier, as well as making the recovery time much shorter. If our dentist recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner rather than later.
How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
To remove a wisdom tooth, our dentist first numbs the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Our dentist may also use additional anesthesia or medication that is appropriate to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling anxious about the procedure. If the tooth is impacted (still under the gums and imbedded in your jaw bone), the dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. To minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, the dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a smaller opening in the bone.
Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Healing time varies depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Our dentist will let you know what to expect and will provide instructions for a comfortable and healthy healing process.