The time has come for your children or even yourself to have the four wisdom teeth extracted. This is either because you have no room in your mouth for this last set of molars, or they have become impacted as they tried to break through your gums, and are now causing you extreme pain. It is very rare for someone to be able to keep their wisdom teeth, as they are often considered something we no longer need, and evolution has made the size of our mouths smaller.
There is a difference between extracting a normal tooth and the extraction of wisdom teeth. Usually a non-wisdom tooth extraction is considered a simple procedure that can be performed by your regular dentist. Extracting the wisdom teeth before eruption, or when they have become impacted takes a surgical procedure that cannot necessarily be performed in the office of your dentist. Because of the intensity of the procedure, and the fact that many people prefer to be under heavy sedation or asleep during the procedure, a referral to an oral surgeon is more common.
Because of the sedation often requested for the procedure, a regular dentist does not have the equipment to monitor the patient. Without the proper equipment, it is often very risky for a patient to be treated by a general dentist. Blood pressure, breathing, and heartrate all must be monitored while under anesthesia. Sometimes a patient will need to have more than a twilight anesthesia and will need a deeper anesthesia to maintain pain control while the procedure is being completed.
The risks of this procedure are a mixture of common and uncommon things to consider. Pain, swelling and bleeding are to be expected with almost any oral procedure, whether it be a filling, root canal or tooth extraction. Lower lip numbness can often be associated with the anesthetic used for fillings or root canals as well. When a wisdom tooth is extracted, not only are these common risks, but there is the added concern of persistent sinus opening. A general dentist may also not be equipped to handle this procedure, or have the experience needed, and you may have jaw damage from a procedure gone wrong.
While your dentist is aware of these concerns, being under the care of an oral surgeon gives you the experience and expertise of a professional who treats these risks on a daily basis. The nurse who will assist with this procedure will also have more training in how to assist the surgeon than the assistant at the dentist’s office. Regular dental school doesn’t cover the specialty of oral surgery without additional schooling.
An oral surgeon will know whether or not to leave a piece of bone within the gum to help with the healing process. And if the time comes when this bone needs to be removed, the oral surgeon is the one who will be able to remove this without additional risk to your oral health.
An oral surgeon is also experienced in how best to handle the possible shifting of teeth within your mouth. They will also be able to assist and make suggestions on how to avoid bone loss in the jaw, and a very unusual condition of the jaw expanding.
Ultimately, the decision to remove your wisdom teeth is up to. Your dentist can help you decide whether or not to undergo this procedure, but in the process of making this decision, you may be putting yourself at greater risk for the many risks of having your wisdom teeth extracted. Allow your dentist to refer you to an oral surgeon for the best possible care.