Wisdom tooth removal is so common now, you might wonder why we have these third molars at all. It’s not so much that we don’t need them, though. It’s that human jaws, on the whole, have become smaller. You can thank our soft, sugary modern diet for that.
When jaws don’t develop to their full genetic potential, the remaining teeth don’t always have enough room to come in, so you wind up with crowded, crooked teeth. Wisdom teeth may be impacted, meaning they don’t fully erupt or come in at odd angles. This can cause pain, as well as raise the risk of decay and gum disease, since these teeth can be hard to clean well.
So prophylactic (preventive) wisdom tooth removal became a thing, even as some have argued against it. It’s even been called a “public health hazard,” since “at least two thirds of these extractions…are unnecessary.”
But there are times when extraction is the best option, and like any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved.
Extractions Can Lead to Hidden Infections
Perhaps the most concerning risk is the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw. Also known as ischemic bone disease or FDOJ (fatty degenerative osteonecrosis and osteolysis of the jawbone), the condition is popularly known as a cavitation.
Cavitations are sites of dead, decaying bone tissue that’s usually hidden under healthy-looking gum tissue. The waste products generated by the microbes involved in the decay process are extremely toxic. As those toxins enter the general circulation, they can contribute to illness or dysfunction elsewhere in the body.
While many situations can cause cavitations, one of the most common is oral surgery, especially extractions. They can develop if the periodontal ligament is left behind and the supporting bone and adjacent tissues aren’t sufficiently disinfected. (The periodontal ligament is the tissue that connects the tooth to the bony alveolar ridge that contains the tooth sockets.)
Research by Drs. Hal Huggins and Thomas Levy found that nearly 90% of all wisdom tooth removal sites went on to develop cavitations.
Biological Oral Surgery Can Help Prevent These Problems
Because of this, it’s important that you choose an oral surgeon who takes a biological approach. Not only will they be aware of the risk of cavitations; they’ll also use the kinds of therapeutic tools we use here in our own office to ensure great surgical outcomes and quick, uneventful healing.
Biological oral surgery consists of three basic steps:
- First, we carefully remove the tooth, periodontal ligament, and the dead or infected tissue or bone.
- Next, we thoroughly disinfect the socket and surrounding tissues using ozone, especially if there is an infected tooth or one that has been treated with root canal therapy.
- Finally, we place platelet rich fibrin (PRF/IPRF) to promote proper bone healing and revascularization of the surrounding tissues. Because PRF is generated from a small sample of your own blood, it is 100% biocompatible. Not only does it support rapid and proper healing; patients typically report less post-op swelling and discomfort when PRF is used.
Our surgeons utilize other integrative modalities to enhance the body’s natural healing mechanisms, as well.
One of the most important of these is IV drip therapy. Under the direction of our medical director, vitamin infusions are used along with other pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory treatments before, during, and after surgical procedures.
The influx of intravenous nutrients – particularly vitamin C – encourages collagen synthesis, which promotes healthy and swift tissue regeneration following an oral surgery procedure.
This integrative approach to oral surgery limits patients’ risk of infection and other complications. It’s also one more reason why patients choose to entrust their dental care needs to us.