For simple wisdom tooth extraction, the best option is a qualified oral surgeon
So you have a wisdom tooth that is causing pain or swelling – what should you do next?
Nowadays, most people turn to the Internet for information, typing in such common queries as “Reasons wisdom teeth get removed” or “How wisdom teeth are removed.”
There is one question, however, that often goes unasked, and it may be the most important question of all: “Who is the professional to perform the procedure?”
Theoretically, a number of dental professionals are able to perform wisdom tooth removal, such as oral surgeons, periodontists or even general dentists, but here at Oral Surgery Specialists of Atlanta, we believe that an oral surgeon is the most qualified dental professional to perform the complex procedure of wisdom tooth removal with the greatest amount of efficiency, safety and comfort.
We remove thousands of wisdom teeth each year, whereas other dental professionals might attempt wisdom tooth extraction “now and then” when they feel that the extraction is “simple.” Wisdom teeth are often not “simple” to extract and can be quite complicated. Having performed this procedure thousands of times, oral surgeons are good at determining the level of difficulty that a wisdom tooth (or any other tooth) might present when considered for extraction.
Additionally, the technology in our office allows us to perform the extraction of four wisdom teeth in less than one hour, whereas it may take well over an hour or more for non-oral surgeons to remove these teeth. Sometimes, patients are then referred to an oral surgeon to complete the procedure if it was not successful.
The extraction of wisdom teeth does not come without some potential risk. There are several anatomical structures that need to be considered when removing these teeth. The sinus cavities above the upper teeth are close enough that they might be perforated during removal of the upper teeth. In the lower jaw, there are nerves that often run in close proximity to the lower wisdom teeth. If these nerves are injured, it might result in temporary or permanent numbness of the lower lip and chin area of the skin. We have the benefit of using 3D cone beam CT scanning at our office to evaluate the potential risk of injury and can alter our procedure to decrease the risk of injury to the patient. Not all dentists use this advanced imaging modality or know about this unique injury-preventing technique.
Wisdom teeth can be extracted without pain, simply using local anesthetic injections to numb the teeth and the surrounding tissue. Often, though, patients will have a higher level of anxiety before undergoing the removal of their wisdom teeth. If this is the case, patients might find the procedure easier to tolerate with either nitrous oxide sedation or IV sedation.
Nitrous oxide causes you to feel more relaxed and mentally “distant” to your surroundings. This modality is combined with a personal choice of music to enhance the effect. Afterward, you return to normal and may drive home after the procedure. Not all dental offices have this service available.
IV sedation causes you to feel more relaxed and usually results in the loss of memory for a few hours after administration. This modality is usually safe for healthy individuals but does pose some additional risk to the heart and lungs when compared to nitrous oxide sedation. IV sedation is safer when administered by someone who is properly trained. Oral surgeons receive the most amount of training in the administration and monitoring of IV sedation of any dental professional.
The majority of individuals will find that they need to have at least one wisdom tooth removed during their lifetime, and often will benefit from having all four (or more) wisdom teeth removed. A lack of hygiene associated with these teeth can lead to dental decay, periodontal disease, or intermittent infections. To address the question: “Who should remove your wisdom teeth?”, the clear answer is that an oral surgeon is the most qualified dental professional to perform this procedure in an efficient, safe, and comfortable office setting.
If you have any more questions, or would like to schedule a consultation (you do not need a referral from another dentist), please feel free to call us at Oral Surgery Specialists of Atlanta at 470-427-2854. We would be happy to meet with you, answer your questions and discuss all of your treatment options in detail.