I have a wisdom tooth in my jaw that has a pretty good cavity and is partially impacted. My other wisdom teeth are fully impacted but don’t have any problems. My dentist said I need to see an oral surgeon to have it extracted because of my age (I’m 37), which he says puts me at risk. He also mentioned that there is a risk of nerve damage. I’m not a comfortable patient under the best of circumstances, but now I’m terrified of this procedure. Help me understand how serious this is and is there a possibility I can not have the tooth removed at all?
I wish these impacted wisdom teeth of yours had been extracted when you were in your late teens to early twenties. At that age, everything is quite pliable and super easy to remove. As you age, the bone gets thicker as the roots fully form. The older you get the more difficult the extraction. I would not wait for the other ones to bother you before having them extracted. It will only get more complicated the longer you wait. As for the one with decay, it does need to come out. You don’t want to wait for an infection to develop, which can turn into a dental emergency.
As for the potential for nerve damage, that is only a real risk if the tooth is impinging on the nerve. Surgeons always tend to overstate the risk because they want to avoid any possibility of a lawsuit if things happen with a nerve beyond their control. Just make sure whomever you see gets some good 3-dimensional x-rays. This way he can work around any nerves.
I did want to address a different type of nerve issue, however. You mentioned you were not the most comfortable of patients. I want to suggest that you see a sedation dentist for any further dental care you need. Having something like oral conscious sedation when you need any work done will greatly improve your feelings toward the dentist. You will finally be able to have anxiety-free/pain-free appointments.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington Dentist Dr. John Weaver.