For a problematic wisdom tooth, extraction is almost always recommended. And years ago, removal was the only option patients had.
Today, however, a coronectomy can be a safe alternative — but the procedure isn’t right for everyone. Generally speaking, the treatment is only recommended for patients at risk for nerve damage from surgical wisdom tooth extraction.
What Is a Coronectomy?
Extraction of the wisdom teeth involves removing everything from the crown to the roots. With a coronectomy, only the crown is removed — the roots are left in place.
The crown is the source of many wisdom teeth problems, including food impaction, tooth decay and pericoronitis. Because of this, a coronectomy can be an effective way to preserve oral health.
When Is a Coronectomy Considered?
Due to their position, the roots of the lower wisdom teeth grow close to the inferior alveolar nerve, which provides sensation to the chin, gums, lower lip and bottom teeth.
Sometimes, the wisdom teeth roots grow around and press on the alveolar nerve. If the roots are wrapped around or touching the nerve, surgical tooth extraction carries an increased risk of nerve damage. In these cases, a coronectomy may be considered to prevent temporary or permanent loss of feeling.
Are You a Candidate for a Coronectomy?
If an assessment of your dental X-rays reveals that the roots of your wisdom teeth have grown around the alveolar nerve, your oral surgeon might consider a coronectomy. However, not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure. Tooth extraction may be advised if:
- Your alveolar nerve is already damaged
- Your tooth has an infected crown or active root tip
- Your tooth is horizontally impacted along the nerve
- You have a chronic health condition that causes recurrent infections
Be aware, too, that even if you are a good candidate for a coronectomy, you could come in for the procedure and wake up from oral surgery with your entire wisdom tooth removed. In rare cases, upon removal of the crown, the oral surgeon discovers that the tooth roots also need to be extracted.
Ready to find out if you’ll need a coronectomy or wisdom tooth extraction? If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, make an appointment with the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.
With more than 10 years of experience in wisdom tooth management, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield have the skill, knowledge and qualifications to recommend the best treatment approach to protect your oral health. To learn whether you’re a candidate for a coronectomy, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office and schedule a wisdom tooth extraction consultation today.