Why did my dentist send me to an oral surgeon for a tooth extraction?

Most simple tooth extractions can be performed by your dentist but there are a number of situations where specialist knowledge, experience and care is required. If your dentist has referred you to an oral surgeon for a tooth extraction, it’s probably for one of the following reasons.

Your tooth is impacted

Extracting an impacted tooth is a surgical procedure that involves making an incision in the gum tissue and may require cutting into the jawbone. An impacted tooth is one that is trying to grow out of your jawbone but has become stuck underneath the surface of the gums. Teeth typically become impacted when they grow in crookedly or there’s not enough space in your mouth to fit an additional tooth. Your third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the most commonly impacted teeth in your mouth.

Complex wisdom tooth extraction

Wisdom tooth extraction often requires IV sedation, which takes place in a surgical setting that might not be available at your dentist’s office. Even if your wisdom teeth are fully erupted and mostly straight, it’s still possible you will be referred to an oral surgeon just to be safe and to make your extraction more comfortable. Oral surgeons are specialists in wisdom tooth extraction, meaning they can perform the procedure more quickly and with a lower likelihood of complications.

Severely cracked or fractured teeth

Teeth that are broken below the surface of the gums may present challenges during extraction. Instead of getting part way through an extraction only to find that surgery is required, your dentist might recommend you have the fractured tooth extracted by an oral surgeon who has more experience removing cracked or damaged teeth.

Problems arising from facial trauma

If you’ve been in an accident, an oral surgeon is a better choice for managing tooth extractions that coincide with other facial injuries, especially those that impact the soft tissues of the face, neck and oral cavity.

Trust your dentist

It’s understandable that some patients can feel uneasy when their dentist sends them to an oral surgeon for a tooth extraction, but it’s important to remember that they only want the best outcome for you. If your dentist refers you to a specialist, trust that they have your best interests at heart.