From the anesthetic to the post surgery recovery time, a surgical approach to treatment brings about questions and concerns. Surgical extraction of supernumerary teeth is no exception. The procedure can be confusing and intimidating for a patient, who typically discusses surgical options with a dentist or oral surgeon.
According to the Mount Sinai Medical Center Family Guide to Dental Health, Supernumerary teeth are "extra teeth, beyond the normal number" that "occur most often among the permanent teeth." Most commonly seen is the "Mesiodens," a small incisor that forms between the upper two central incisors.
The human dentition consists of two sets of teeth. The Deciduous Dentition,also known as "baby teeth," consists of 20 teeth that begin to erupt during infancy. Shedding of the Deciduous dentition occurs during early childhood, ages three to eight. The Permanent Dentition, or "adult teeth," consist of 32 teeth.
Evaluation and Diagnosis
Dentists diagnose supernumerary teeth a few different ways, the first of which is eruption. During the evaluation the dentist will examine the teeth and surrounding tissues.
If the teeth have not erupted, the dentist will order a panoramic X-ray. This shows the entire dentition, from the anterior. Dentists commonly use such x-rays for orthodontics and maxillofacial surgeries. Panoramic x-rays show the alignment of the teeth in the jaws, the bone density of the teeth and surrounding structures, the sinus cavities, nose and ocular structures.
The term "extraction," as defined by the Bantam Medical Dictionary, is "the surgical removal of a part of the body." A dental professional will extract teeth by applying extraction forceps to the crown or root of the tooth to dislocate it from its socket. When this is not possible because the tooth or root is deeply buried within the bone extraction may involve removing bone and dividing the tooth.
Simple Extractions are considered routine or uncomplicated. These extractions do not require the use of the dental handpieces, and also do not require that the patient be administered general anesthetic.
A surgical-extraction procedure removes the third molars. These extractions, which often involved drills and general anesthesia, are common in complicated dental cases. Supernumerary teeth often require surgical extraction for removal.
Certain cases may present as a simple extraction, and become a surgical extraction during the procedure. This is often due to a complication that has arisen during the initial extraction process. When a removing a supernumerary tooth, the most crucial evidence of necessary surgical extraction is the location of the tooth. Supernumerary teeth that present within the palate, or structures similar in bone density, are complex extractions. These conditions may require the patient to see a specialist.
The dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment for a week after the surgery to check healing and bone density, answer questions, remove sutures if necessary and re-evaluate any prior concerns. Prior to dismissing the patient, the dentist will give post-surgery instructions. Healing time typically lasts about two weeks.