In my previous blog about wisdom teeth extractions, I discussed a few processes to determine the safest removal process possible. If extraction carries too high of a risk for loss of feeling, or a permanent sense of tingling in the lip, cheek, tongue, gums, and teeth, there is another option.
A Coronectomy can help avoid risk.
A coronectomy, is a crown removal procedure. This involves removing the top third of the tooth that would remain above the gum line if the tooth were able to erupt into the mouth, and intentionally leaving the root.
In most situations, the root will stay where it is, bone will form over the root during the healing process, and the retained roots will become part of the jawbone. A small number of patients will have the retained roots drift upwards toward the top of the jaw, and occasionally these roots will become exposed, requiring full removal.
Once this happens, the roots have usually drifted above the nerve canal, which removes the risk of permanent numbness and/or tingling. The least common result is that a retained root will become infected and require removal; under such circumstances, the risk of nerve injury is the same as if the whole tooth were to be removed in the first place.
Often times, a tooth will appear very close to nerve when viewed on standard X-rays taken by general dentists. It won’t be until I see an image of the area with a 3D CBCT Scan that I realize the tooth is actually a very safe distance from the nerve, allowing me to comfortably and safely remove the tooth and avoid complications.
As an oral surgeon using the latest technology, it’s possible to see things that a general dentist may miss. This enables me to get a better understanding of what is going on with your teeth and how to move forward in the safest possible way for the best results. I’ll be discussing this more in future blogs.