Wisdom Teeth Extractions

33Tooth extraction, or tooth removal, is a safe and common procedure. If Dr. Tanner recommends extraction (whether it’s for a wisdom tooth or any other tooth), he will make sure to explain why this is the best course of action for your oral health.

What is Tooth Extraction?

A tooth extraction is simply the removal of a tooth. It is a common procedure that is performed regularly without any complications. In some circumstances, Dr. Tanner will refer you to an oral surgeon, but in most cases, he will perform the procedure right in his office.

Why Would I Need an Extraction?

There are a number of reasons that Dr. Tanner might recommend extraction, they include:

  • Decay to the tooth that is so severe that the tooth cannot be saved and the overall health of the mouth will be improved with its removal.
  • A tooth that has been broken beyond repair.
  • A tooth that is impacted (not properly emerged through the gums). This commonly occurs with wisdom teeth.
  • Crowding from the position of a tooth that could damage other teeth.
  • Braces or orthodontic treatment that require a tooth extraction first
  • Periodontitis (severe gum disease).

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars (molars are the teeth located towards the back of your mouth, used for chewing) in your mouth. Wisdom teeth typically emerge (erupt) in a patient’s late teen years or their early twenties. In some cases, there is no need to remove wisdom teeth. If, for example, there is sufficient room in the jaw, and the teeth emerge fully without crowding the other teeth, then no extraction is necessary.

When is There a Need to Extract Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are only removed when it appears that they will cause problems for the health of the rest of the mouth. Wisdom teeth often become impacted (not fully or properly emerged through the gums) and in this situation, the teeth can be difficult to clean, leading to the accumulation of plaque and subsequent tooth decay. In other circumstances, wisdom teeth may be crooked and will often cause discomfort and crowd existing teeth. Dr. Tanner will be happy to provide an x-ray of your wisdom teeth with an explanation of the effect of their positioning on your oral health.

7What Can I Expect From an Extraction?

Some people are apprehensive about undergoing an extraction, but the advances of modern dentistry have made the procedure quite routine. If you do have concerns, please make sure to share your concerns with Dr. Tanner. All GADC extractions are performed with anesthesia, so the area surrounding the point of extraction will be numb. You will likely feel some pressure from the procedure, but little, if any, pain. If you know that you have problems getting numb, or if you have any other concerns regarding the procedure, discuss them ahead of time with Dr. Tanner.

In many cases sedation dentistry will keep you relaxed and comfortable throughout the entirety of what is a fairly quick procedure. Following the procedure, Dr. Tanner will provide you with instructions for keeping the removal area clean, preventing infection and other complications, and allowing time for proper healing. Often, he will also discuss the benefits of further options for tooth replacement, such as partial dentures, bridges or dental implants.

Are There Alternatives to an Extraction?

Alternatives depend on your particular circumstances, so you will want to discuss options with Dr. Tanner. In some cases it is possible to repair a damaged tooth with a crown, root canal or possibly both. In many cases Dr. Tanner will recommend replacing an extracted tooth because the lack of a replacement will leave a gap that may lead to problems for the surrounding teeth. If replacement is an option, then repairing and saving the tooth might be a more affordable option than extracting and replacing that same tooth with partial dentures, bridges or dental implants. Dr. Tanner will be happy to explain why extraction may or may not be recommended and what other options exist.