Is proactive wisdom teeth removal the right choice? Or should you take the wait-and-see approach, only considering tooth extraction if it becomes necessary?
Oral surgeons and dentists often advise patients to consider proactive removal. Here, we explain the reasons behind this recommendation, the potential drawbacks and when a coronectomy — an alternative to wisdom teeth extraction — is a better option.
Advantages of Proactive Wisdom Teeth Removal
Even if your wisdom teeth seem problem-free today, your luck may not last for long. The third molars are notorious for causing pain and other issues — and when they do, extraction is almost always the solution. But if you wait until that point to get your teeth pulled, you may have a more difficult time recovering.
Proactive wisdom teeth removal allows you to preserve your oral health. You won’t have to worry about your third molars becoming impacted or pushing against their neighbors as they emerge. You’ll also decrease your risk of gum disease and tooth loss, as cleaning the back of your mouth will be much easier after the procedure.
By preventing future tooth and gum problems, you’ll also be able to see your oral surgeon less often. So, being proactive could end up saving you both time and money.
Disadvantages of Proactive Wisdom Teeth Removal
Though most patients experience wisdom tooth problems, a select few do not. There’s a chance your third molars could erupt in the perfect position, without any issues at all. As you only have one set of permanent teeth, you may not like the idea of removing any that aren’t in bad shape.
In addition, wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure, and every surgery carries some risks. Complications are quite rare, particularly in the hands of an experienced oral surgeon, but you could develop an infection or suffer nerve damage. For some patients, the benefits of proactive removal don’t outweigh the risks.
When Oral Surgeons Recommend a Coronectomy
Proactive wisdom tooth extraction isn’t right for everyone. In some cases, a coronectomy is a safer treatment approach.
Wisdom tooth extraction usually involves surgically removing both the crowns and the tooth roots. With a coronectomy, the roots are left in place. Oral surgeons typically recommend the procedure for patients who have an increased risk of nerve damage from root removal.
If your X-rays show that the roots of your third molars have grown around and are pressing on the alveolar nerve, your oral surgeon may consider a coronectomy. This situation is uncommon, however — in all likelihood, wisdom tooth extraction is in your future.
What’s the best approach to preserving your oral health? If you live in the greater central Indiana area, get expert advice from the professional team at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.
Dr. Garrison and Dr. Kelly, our board-certified oral surgeons, specialize in wisdom tooth management and have the skill, knowledge and experience to properly care for your smile. Contact Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Indianapolis, Indiana, and schedule a consultation to discuss proactive wisdom teeth removal today.