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Alternatives to Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Posted on May 10th, 2019 by Dr. Peter Tomaselli

Most people, when their wisdom teeth start coming in, find that there isn’t enough room in the mouth or that the tooth comes in partially. Either way, wisdom teeth removal was the only choice to fix the problem, or was it? A coronectomy might be a better choice, though it’s not a common term and most people aren’t familiar with it or the process.

Complications with the Nerves

Primarily, the wisdom tooth roots in the low jaw wrap around or press on the nerves that supply the feeling to your chin, lips, and tongue. If they’re too close together, extraction could cause nerve damage, which could be permanent or temporary. Such damage to the nerve can cause problems with eating, speaking, and lower your quality of life. Instead, a coronectomy might be the best choice.

The Procedure

Primarily, the treatment includes removing the tooth crown but leaving the roots intact inside the jaw. The roots are likely to have viable tissue, but they should heal with the bone and move away from your nerves. If the roots are near the IAN, a coronectomy is usually considered preferable. With this option, you may find that the retained roots do require extraction if they start to erupt. However, this isn’t common, and the roots are far away from the IAN, so extraction doesn’t harm the nerve.

Who Should Consider It

If your dentist mentions wisdom tooth extraction, you may want to ask about a coronectomy or ask if it is a better choice. It works well for teeth/roots that are infected or if the tooth is impacted horizontally with the IAN. In most cases, patients can have a routine extraction without any complications, though it is important to talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about all the options available to you.

Wisdom teeth can be bothersome to many people, but you don’t have to suffer unduly. Visit your family dentist to learn about the removal process or request an appointment.


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