Why Am I Being Referred To An Oral Surgeon Instead Of My Dentist For A Tooth Extraction?

Usually it’s your dentist who, after a thorough examination including x-rays, determines if any teeth need to be pulled. Common reasons for extraction include cracks or breakage, advanced decay, and impaction, a painful condition where teeth are trapped in the gums or jaw.

Teeth may also be extracted for esthetic reasons.

You may need one or more teeth pulled to address problems like overcrowding or misalignment prior to getting braces or before undertaking the kind of “smile makeover” offered by cosmetic dentists like Dr. Zach Taylor of Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry. A smile makeover, which aims for complete dental beautification, may include steps like contouring, whitening and the application of veneers.

What’s The Difference Between A Dentist And An Oral Surgeon?

Tooth extraction can often be done right at the dentist’s office, with the doctor using novocaine, local anesthesia or sedation to mitigate any discomfort.

If it looks like an extraction will be particularly complicated or lengthy, however, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon. Oral surgeons bring greater expertise and experience to bear upon tricky extractions.

They’re also qualified to administer the general anesthesia required for extensive dental surgery. For this reason, a patient with dental phobia–someone who insists on sleeping through any procedure–may be referred to an oral surgeon even for a routine extraction

The use of anesthesia carries risks including abrupt changes in your heartbeat or blood pressure. While such instances are rare, it’s reassuring to know that oral surgeons are trained in Basic Life Support.

Complicating matters

There are a number of factors that can complicate tooth extraction and which may prompt your dentist to send you to an oral surgeon. Some of these are:

  • Badly cracked or fractured teeth that are likely to break off during removal
  • Impacted teeth that are below the gum line, which necessitates cutting into the mouth to extract them
  • Entangled roots
  • Jaw tightness
  • Facial characteristics like overly large sinuses, which inhibit easy teeth removal

A dentist is also likely to refer patients needed wisdom teeth extraction to an oral surgeon.

There is often little room left in our mouths by the time this third set of molars comes in, typically between the ages of 17 and 25. As a result, wisdom teeth have an uncomfortable tendency to grow in a way that causes misalignment, overcrowding or impaction. They’re also tough and hard to get to, so general anesthetic is usually advised for their removal.

Having an extraction is not something most people are happy about. There’s a reason we say achieving something difficult is “like pulling teeth.” Luckily, though, there are dental surgeons qualified to make a dental operation as efficient and painless as possible. That’s something to smile about.

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