My upper right first and second bicuspid teeth have been missing since I was 16 years old. Two years ago, I started saving for dental implants. I saw an implant dentist two months ago, and she did a 3D scan of my teeth and noticed my impacted wisdom teeth. She asked if I had any complications, and I told her that my wisdom teeth hurt regularly and had felt worse within the past five months.
The dentist recommended getting my wisdom teeth out before I get dental implants because if the wisdom teeth flare up during dental implant recovery, I could have a rough time. She referred me to an oral surgeon. I am 42 years old and terrified of wisdom teeth removal because of my age. All my wisdom teeth are impacted, and two are angled near a nerve. I am afraid of nerve damage from the surgery. I read about a procedure that can take off the tops of the teeth. Would I qualify for that? Do I really need to get my wisdom teeth out before getting dental implants? Thanks. Micah from Lexington, KY
Thank you for your question. We understand your disappointment about delaying a dental implant procedure to get your wisdom teeth removed. But your dentist is correct. If your wisdom teeth flare up during your four months of recovery after dental implant surgery, you can experience much discomfort.
What Happens If Your Wisdom Tooth Is Near a Nerve?
If your wisdom tooth is near a nerve, your oral surgeon will use a 3-D CT scan to navigate around the nerve while removing the tooth. Wisdom teeth are near two nerves, the lingual nerve, and the alveolar nerve.
- Lingual nerve – Supplies sensation to the floor of your mouth and the front two-thirds of the tongue
- Alveolar nerve – Supplies sensation to your lower lip and skin over your chin
If a wisdom tooth has long roots entangled in nerves, some oral surgeons perform a procedure called a coronectomy.
What Is a Coronectomy?
A coronectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the crown of a wisdom tooth and leaves the roots intact. A surgeon may use this method to prevent touching nerves. The procedure is controversial because using tooth roots behind can create new risks, and your oral surgeon may not use it.
What Happens If Wisdom Teeth Removal Bruises a Nerve?
If wisdom teeth removal bruises a nerve, the effects are usually temporary but can last up to 18 months. As the nerve heals, you may experience numbness or tingling in these areas:
- Lower lip
- Skin over your chin
We encourage you to schedule a consultation with a board-certified oral surgeon to discuss your concerns and the state of your wisdom teeth. The surgeon will explain your options for sedation to relieve your anxiety during the procedure.
After dental implant surgery, avoiding disturbing the implants and preventing them from fusing with your jawbone is essential. Delaying wisdom teeth removal and needing emergency surgery could interrupt dental implant healing and recovery.
Baton Rouge dentist Dr. Steven Brooksher sponsors this post. Dr. Brooksher is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.