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Wisdom teeth also known as the third molars, usually erupt in the late teens or early twenties. The majority of adults will have four wisdom teeth, however, some have fewer and some have none at all. For those that do have wisdom teeth, they can often cause pain, irritation, and infection. Therefore, we may need to intervene with an extraction or a Coronectomy.
A coronectomy is a procedure that involves removing the crown of a lower wisdom tooth while keeping the roots behind in the bone. When a lower wisdom tooth becomes impacted (growing either sideways, horizontally, diagonally, forward or backward) problems can occur for the gum and surrounding teeth. Often, removal of the wisdom tooth is the best option to protect the region from infection and damage. However, lower wisdom teeth can lie extremely close to the inferior alveolar nerve. There is a risk of damaging this nerve when extracting a lower wisdom tooth.
The alveolar nerve stems from the mandibular nerve that runs through the lower jaw. This nerve is responsible for the sensory sensations felt in the lower jaw. Therefore, if any damage was to occur to that nerve, a patient could be left in pain or may be left partially or completely numb in that region. Sensory sensation could also be altered in the lower lip, chin, and skin either temporarily or permanently.
By taking an X-ray, we would let you know if your wisdom tooth is lying very close to the alveolar nerve and inform you that it is too risky to do a full wisdom tooth extraction. If the wisdom tooth is very close to the nerve then a Coronectomy could be the best choice and we offer it as a treatment option to our patients.
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