Extractions/Wisdom Teeth

Extractions and Wisdom Tooth Removal

When a tooth is damaged to the extent that a filling, crown, or other treatment is not enough to fix it, that tooth may need to be removed, or extracted.  In most cases, a general dentist can perform simple tooth extractions with a local anesthetic, while an oral (maxillofacial) surgeon performs more complex extractions, such as wisdom tooth removal.  Here are some of the most common reasons a tooth may need to be extracted:

  • To remove extra teeth that block other teeth from emerging.
  • To remove extra teeth that cause a crooked smile or bite or to create room for teeth that will be shifted by orthodontic treatment.
  • To remove a tooth that is deeply infected.  Infected teeth can cause the immune system to weaken, so some cancer or organ donation patients may need to have infected teeth removed.
  • To remove wisdom teeth which have become impacted.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom tooth removal is an extraction procedure commonly performed by an oral (maxillofacial) surgeon.  Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars that emerge, typically during adolescence or a person’s early twenties.  In many cases, wisdom teeth may fail to emerge fully and are said to be impacted.  When this happens, most dentists or oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction. Some of the most common issues brought on by wisdom tooth impaction include:

  • The impacted tooth causes other teeth to shift position
  • Possible sinus function issues and congestion
  • Jaw pain
  • Infection
  • Bone loss
  • Gum irritation

Wisdom tooth extraction is more complex than the extraction procedures for other teeth, and patients are frequently put under sedation for this procedure.

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