Dan's Dentistry Blog

« Back to Home

Why Might You Need to See a Specialist or Oral Surgeon for Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Posted on

If you're told you need to have your wisdom teeth out, you're probably not going to be looking forward to your next visit to see your dentist. However, many people are surprised by being told that a specialist should be used for extraction. This isn't always necessary, but dentists will often refer you to a specialist or an oral surgeon – you will either go to another surgery or have a specialist visit you at your normal dentist's office.

It might seem a little odd to have the job passed to somebody else, especially when you need to pay more to see a specialist. After all, wisdom tooth removal sounds like exactly the kind of procedure your dentist is paid to perform.

So why should you heed their advice and go for a specialist or oral surgeon instead?

Wisdom teeth are often impacted

It's true that dentists can generally perform simply extractions by themselves, but there is a difference between a simple extraction and a surgical extraction. When a tooth is relatively healthy and the top is well above the gum line, it can usually be removed by your dentist. However, wisdom teeth are often impacted, meaning that they have not completely erupted from beneath the gum line. As such, an extraction will be considered surgical – bone and tissue will need to be cut through to release the tooth, and stitches will usually be required to close the site afterwards.

Your dentist may not be trained to perform such surgery, just as your local GP probably won't be trained and qualified to perform heart surgery.

Wisdom teeth can show other problems

Even if the wisdom teeth are fully erupted and not technically in need of surgical extraction, seeing a specialist or oral surgeon can be a good idea since wisdom teeth often suffer from other issues. One of the most common is a curved root – these make it a lot harder to extract the tooth cleanly. The root of a wisdom tooth also tends to be quite close to the sinus pathways, so extra care needs to be taken. Finally, wisdom teeth are quite large, and even erupted ones sit quite low in the gum line.

If your dentist tells you that you should see a specialist or an oral surgeon to have a wisdom tooth or two extracted, it's advice that you should follow. It might cost more money, but seeing a specialist can reduce any risks and make sure you recover as quickly as possible.