Tooth extractions performed by a skilled and experienced oral surgeon are typically problem-free. In fact, for most patients, the procedure goes off without a hitch.
On rare occasions, however, complications can occur.
When a tooth is being pulled, it can fracture, split or break. If this happens, completing the extraction is likely to require more time and effort.
Occasionally, a small section of the tooth root may be left behind, increasing the risk of infection. A second procedure to remove the piece may be an appropriate course of action. But if it’s close to a nerve, it may need to stay put.
Damage to Nearby Teeth
In rare cases, the extraction of one tooth can result in other teeth or dental restorations chipping, fracturing or loosening. When this occurs, the patient typically needs additional treatment.
During the removal of an upper tooth, displacement into the infratemporal fossa — the space behind the upper jaw — is a rare occurrence. If a tooth becomes displaced, extracting it may require hospitalization to allow for the use of general anesthesia.
The process of extracting a tooth from the upper jaw can damage the sinus cavity, creating a breach between the mouth and the maxillary sinuses. If the opening doesn’t close on its own, corrective oral surgery may be necessary.
A misstep during a tooth extraction from the lower jaw can injure the inferior alveolar nerve. The resulting lack of sensation in the lower lip and/or chin may resolve itself after a few weeks or months, but extensive nerve injury can cause permanent numbness.
Temporomandibular Joint Damage
Tooth extraction procedures can sometimes lead to problems with the jaw joint. Conservative measures are often effective at relieving the symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, but some patients end up needing surgical treatment.
Though quite rare, the jaw can fracture during a tooth extraction. This complication is more likely with the removal of impacted teeth and in patients with jawbone atrophy. If a break occurs, treatment may mean wiring the jaw shut or using small plates and screws to hold the bones in position.
At Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, tooth extraction complications are rare. Very few of our patients experience a problem during or after the procedure. However, we’re always prepared for any eventuality, as difficulties with extractions are unpredictable.
Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the highly skilled oral surgeons here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, provide expert treatment for a wide range of issues related to the teeth, jaws and facial regions. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office and schedule a consultation to discuss tooth extraction today.