Since you are reading this story, you are probably well aware of the havoc wisdom teeth can play in a mouth. Rarely do they come in properly aligned and with healthy gum tissue. Often they come in sideways, only partially emerged from the gum or they even remain impacted underneath the gum. Bacteria grow around them, which can cause painful infections. As they come in, they can push other teeth in the mouth out of alignment. Wisdom tooth pain drives a lot of people to their dentists.
“Erupting wisdom teeth made a lot of sense from an evolutionary point of view when most people lost a few teeth by the time they were adults or had extensive wear, allowing more room for the wisdom teeth,” says Dr. Ramsey M. Fanous, DDS, an award winning oral surgeon in Plano and co-founder of Texas Oral Surgery Group. “Today, wisdom teeth have the potential to be a health problem waiting to happen.”
Once you are told your teeth need to come out, you need to decide if you should use an oral surgeon or a dentist to do the procedure. There are five factors to consider when making your decision:
- How often does my dentist extract wisdom teeth? For most dentists, wisdom tooth extractions are an occasional procedure, while oral surgeons perform extractions on a daily basis. Oral surgeons perform thousands of wisdom tooth extractions every year. Quick, skillful extractions make for faster and less-painful recovery with less potential for complications
- Are there underlying complications with my teeth? Severely infected or very difficult-to-remove teeth should be handled by an oral surgeon.
- Do I have underlying health complications? “Diabetics, heart patients, those with high blood pressure and other underlying health issues should be treated by an oral surgeon,” adds Dr. Fanous. “The risk of complications is much higher and an oral surgeon can get a patient admitted to a hospital immediately if something goes wrong. Many surgeons are close to a hospital in addition to having surgical facilities equipped for emergencies.”
- Will I need anesthesia? Many dentists use local numbing agents, laughing gas or knock-out drugs to extract teeth. An oral surgeon will provide intravenous anesthesia, which makes the procedure much more comfortable and less traumatic. If there are underlying complications requiring more work on the surgeon’s part, you won’t even know about it until you wake up later, which is a relief for most patients.
- Is there a plan to deal with emergencies? Be sure to ask this question of anyone who you want to perform the procedure. “An oral surgeon will have at least two other professional staff members in the room, responsible for monitoring a patient’s blood pressure, heart rate and breathing,” says Dr. Fanous. “While serious complications from wisdom tooth extraction are rare, they can happen and you want to make sure your provider is prepared for the worst.”
According to industry studies, 80 percent of dentists refer wisdom tooth extractions out to oral surgeons because they realize a surgeon has more experience and is in the best position to handle a tricky situation, like a tooth sitting on a nerve or a tooth still partially encased in bone.
If you would like to know more about wisdom tooth extraction, possible complications or how to recover after surgery, call Texas Oral Surgery Group at 972-471-9596 to arrange an appointment or visit the website at www.texasoralsurgerygroup.com.
Texas Oral Surgery Group
Plano, Allen, Denton, Decatur, Gainesville, Texas