Dental Tips Blog


General Dentist or Oral Surgeon: Who Is Qualified to Extract Your Teeth?

Whether it’s pesky impacted wisdom teeth or an abscessed tooth, you need to have the affected ones extracted. Tooth extractions can end your pain and save your smile!

The question is: who should you see to get your tooth extracted?

General Dentist vs. Oral Surgeon—The Difference

Your family dentist is qualified to perform routine teeth extractions. However, he or she is likely very busy with performing a variety of other procedures. General dentists place fillings, perform root canals, design crowns, repair dentures, besides many other services. They don’t necessarily specialize in removing teeth that are impacted or difficult to extract.

Oral surgeons, on the other hand, have a few extra years of education to prepare them specifically for operating on structures of the face. They’ve removed hundreds to thousands of teeth before they even graduated from dental school!

How Complex Is Your Case?

One important factor to consider when deciding who should perform the extraction is the complexity of your situation.

General dentists can perform basic tooth extractions. But they may not have the needed equipment or experience to handle the situation if things take an unexpected turn or are hard to reach.

An oral surgeon is prepared with the resources necessary to avoid complications and may have better anesthesia options than those available in typical dental offices.

How to Find an Oral Surgeon for a Tooth Extraction

You can simply ask your regular dentist for recommendations on choosing a good oral surgeon. Schedule a checkup with your family dentist to find out what your tooth needs. Ask about treatment options, your dentist’s experience, and the pros and cons of referring out to an oral surgeon.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752


3 Important Facts You Should Know About Wisdom Teeth

Boost your dental health knowledge with these three important facts about third molars.

Not Everyone Gets Their Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth aren’t a necessary or expected part of smile development.

Some people get all four wisdom teeth. Others may get only one, two, or three. Lucky folks don’t have any at all and never have to worry about them.

Wisdom Teeth Can Cause Major Problems if Not Removed

A high percentage of people who get their wisdom teeth need to have them extracted. This is because wisdom teeth often grow in crooked (impacted) due to limited space. The pressure from misaligned third molars can push other teeth out of alignment or damage them. Under these circumstances, tooth extraction is generally called for.

Even if your wisdom teeth come in evenly, they will always be at risk for problems. Third molars are hard to access way back in your mouth. Proper flossing and brushing is almost impossible. As a result, your teeth will be prone to developing cavities and gum disease, which can, in turn, spread to infect your other teeth.

That’s why it’s so important for a dentist to regularly evaluate your wisdom tooth development and health.

Wisdom Teeth Don’t Always Need to Be Extracted

Occasionally, wisdom teeth grow into the mouth with little trouble. If your third molars come in nice and straight and you can keep them clean, then they won’t cause you more trouble than any other tooth.

Removing a wisdom tooth can be complicated and risky if it’s close to a nerve in your jaw. So some impacted teeth are best left alone as long as they aren’t causing immediate problems.

Check with your dentist to find out how your wisdom teeth are doing!

Posted on behalf of:
Bayshore Dental Center
810 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd #2900
Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 330-2006


What to Do When You Fracture a Tooth

Without a doubt, breaking a tooth can be scary and painful. But there’s no need to panic! A few simple precautions can help you minimize the damage and even save your tooth entirely.

  1. Determine How Your Tooth Broke

Teeth sometimes fracture without showing any outward signs of damage. You might know something’s wrong because the tooth will be very temperature sensitive or hurt when you release your bite.

Locate any missing pieces if your tooth suffered an obvious fracture or chip. You don’t want to accidentally swallow any of them, especially if your dentist can bond them back in place.

  1. Rinse

Swishing with warm water to cleanse the area is a good idea. If there is any bleeding, firmly but gently pack some gauze around the tooth. A tea bag is also helpful since it promotes blood clotting.

  1. Ice

Numb the area around your sore tooth by icing your cheek or lip outside your mouth. This can help to bring down swelling. Take a painkiller, if needed.

  1. See Your Dentist or Oral Surgeon ASAP

You will definitely need an x-ray or two to determine the full extent of the damage. If your root is fractured, a tooth extraction may be necessary. Otherwise, your dentist may be able to save it with a dental crown or root canal.

Small damage, like a painless chip, can often be smoothed out with just a bit of bonding.

It’s also possible to bruise the ligaments around your tooth. If this happens, your tooth will hurt for a few days without actually having suffered a fracture.

The only way you’ll know for sure is to see your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible!

Posted on behalf of:
Stafford Oral Surgery & Specialists
481 Garrisonville Rd. Suite 103
Stafford, VA 22554
(540) 322-1808


How to Find a Good Oral Surgeon

Posted in Oral Surgery

Your full mouth reconstruction treatment might include a variety of procedures such as:

  • Extractions
  • Restorations
  • Periodontal (gum) therapy
  • Implants

It could also require the specialized skill of an oral surgeon. As you plan out your full mouth reconstruction, you might wonder about how to find an oral surgeon who will help you feel comfortable.

What an Oral Surgeon Does

Whether you have an advanced oral issue that is congenital or caused by disease or trauma, an oral surgeon can correct it using anesthesia, both local and general, if needed.

In line with your reconstructive needs, an oral surgeon’s skills will come in handy in:

  • Treating facial trauma
  • Removing cysts and tumors
  • Extracting teeth
  • Correcting the alignment of your jaw
  • Rebuilding facial structures

Your oral surgeon should work closely with both your primary doctor and your dentist in designing your full mouth reconstruction treatment plan.

Meeting an Oral Surgeon

Your dentist will likely know several individuals whom he or she could refer you to. You can do a little research of your own, as well. Ask about the personality of a particular surgeon you are being referred to. Look up their professional information online to find out whether they belong to any professional dental societies. When you meet a surgeon in person, ask him or her about how much experience they have had with cases like yours.

Find Out More Before Surgery

You’ve met with a surgeon and you feel the office is a good fit. Great! Don’t forget to follow up by asking detailed questions about your treatment plan. Ask about how the office works with your insurance and whether they offer some sort of financing. Talk with your local general dentist for more information and recommendations.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725


When a Tooth Breaks Off Completely

Posted in Dental Implants

Weak or decayed teeth are extremely brittle, and have the risk of breaking or fracturing at any moment. If they are weak enough, a tooth can break off completely at the surface of the gums, leaving only a remaining root tip still in the mouth. For some people the remaining root doesn’t hurt one bit, but for others it can be extremely painful. What exactly happens when you have a tooth break off completely like this?

It’s extremely important for you to have the retained root tip removed as soon as possible. The open nerve canal is exposed to the outside environment and can allow bacteria, food particles, or decay to spread through the nerve and into other parts of your head. Severe infections and spread of disease to other areas or teeth can easily occur. Even if the tooth does not hurt, it may still be infected. Removing the root is similar to a tooth extraction procedure in regards to the appointment and recovery. Simply treating it with antibiotics will not prevent future problems but will only treat the current infection.

Unfortunately, the tooth is beyond the point of restoration once this type of fracture has taken place. After the root tip is removed, your dentist can discuss types of tooth replacement options with you. This restores your chewing function and prevents nearby or adjacent teeth from shifting out of place all across your mouth. Some effective ways to replace teeth are by placing dental implants or having a bridge made.

If you’ve had a tooth break off completely, call your dentist as soon as possible. Depending on the type of fracture that has occurred, you should bring your remaining tooth with you if it is available.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Virginia Kirkland, North Point Periodontics


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