While wisdom teeth may have been useful for the hunters and gatherers who walked the planet thousands of years ago, they don’t pose much use to people any longer. As a result, many patients need to have them removed, especially when they’re already causing significant issues like crowding, misalignment, and even infections.
That’s why your dentist wanted to summarize a few types of wisdom teeth extractions he performs on a regular basis. Every patient’s case is unique, but extractions only fall into a handful of categories.
The Most Common Types of Extractions
Tooth extractions, for wisdom teeth or otherwise, can be grouped into two categories: simple and surgical.
Simple extractions are performed when the tooth is visible in the mouth. This is the most common type of extraction your dentist performs. In this instance, your dentist loosens the tooth with a dental tool known as an elevator. Then, he removes the tooth by grabbing onto it with a pair of dental forceps. Don’t worry about feeling discomfort though; you’ll be given local anesthetic prior to removal.
Surgical extractions are more complex because they involve teeth that have broken off at the gum line or failed to have fully erupted. While these are usually done by oral surgeons, they can also be performed by general dentists. Along with using an elevator and forceps to remove the tooth, your dentist will also make a small incision through gum tissue and even remove some bone around the tooth for easier removal. They may also break the tooth into pieces and remove it that way.
How Can Wisdom Teeth Erupt?
The extraction your dentist uses will vary based on how the tooth is erupting. Consider the following situations below to get a better idea of how your dentist will perform the extraction.
- No Impaction – If the tooth has erupted above the jawbone and gum line, a simple extraction will be performed.
- Soft Tissue Impaction – if the tooth is covered with tissue, the dentist may need to cut what is called a “flap” to expose it more. This requires a surgical extraction.
- Partial Bony Impaction – If the tooth is partially exposed and part is still trapped below the gum line, your dentist will make an incision in the gum tissue and remove a minimal amount of bone to expose the tooth. Additionally, the tooth is cut in half along the crown.
- Complete Bony Impaction – Wisdom teeth that grow in sideways or backwards may be completely encased in the jawbone. Similar to a soft tissue impaction, a flap is created to expose the tooth, part of the jawbone is shaved down, and the tooth is cut into pieces for easier elevating. Both bony impactions will require surgical extractions to perform.
Are you experiencing in pain in the back of the mouth and not sure if it’s caused by wisdom teeth? Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to find out for sure!
About the Author
Dr. Hube Parker earned his dental degree from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry and has over 25 years of experience. He’s taken extensive continuing education courses on oral surgery, allowing him to remove wisdom teeth erupting in numerous circumstances. To learn more about his practice, contact him through his website.