Extractions/Oral Surgery and Wisdom Teeth
Oral surgery is the area of dentistry that focuses on the extraction or removal of teeth from the mouth. Many general dentists do oral surgery. There are several common reasons that a person might need a tooth removed.
Primary among them is very deep decay. Not all cavities can be repaired. On occasion a cavity is so large or so deep that the only course of treatment is to extract the tooth. Often this need is hastened by acute pain which can accompany a deep cavity.
Teeth are also extracted to help reduce crowding, usually in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. It is common for a person who is about to have braces put on to need a tooth or teeth removed to allow for adequate room in their jaw to accommodate the new positioning of the teeth.
Wisdom teeth, or third molars as they are also called, are the furthest teeth back in the mouth. Due to insufficient room in the dental arch, a person’s wisdom tooth or teeth often don’t come in completely, or at all in some cases. These incompletely erupted or unerupted teeth are known as being impacted.
It is very often desirable to have impacted wisdom teeth extracted as they can cause several different types of problems. These extractions are usually done preemptively, before a problem occurs.
The most common of these issues is pericoronitis, a gum infection that occurs around incompletely erupted wisdom teeth. Sometimes only part of a wisdom teeth breaks through the gum. The loose gum around the partly erupted tooth can easily get food packed underneath it leading to infection. Removal of the offending tooth is the only way to be sure that this frequently reoccurring problem is definitively cured.
Another issue we see is when a wisdom tooth lays against the tooth in front of it(the second molar) I can lead to a cavity forming in that molar. Often these cavities can be fixed until the wisdom tooth is removed.
Many wisdom teeth are very difficult to clean due to how far back they are in the mouth. Teeth in this position can even make it difficult to clean the second molar just ahead of it. If it is very difficult to clean a wisdom tooth, or the tooth is developing a cavity already, and is difficult to clean and not providing any chewing function, it may be a candidate for extraction.