Tooth Extractions - General Dentist or Oral Surgeon?

missing tooth

If you’re facing a tooth extraction, you may be wondering if your general dentist or an oral surgeon will be performing the service? While both general dentists and oral surgeons extract teeth, there are several issues to consider before making your appointment.

The first step is to visit your general dentist to determine if an extraction is necessary. A clinical exam and x-rays will be necessary for your dentist to make an accurate diagnosis and decide whether they will perform the procedure. The criteria for extraction by a general dentist is based on:

  • Bone around the tooth- If there’s bone loss around the tooth, it’ll be easier to remove. Therefore, a general dentist will frequently extract.
  • The presence and extent of infection- If there’s significant infection surrounding the tooth, you may be referred to a specialist.
  • The severity of pain- If anesthesia is given and the pain is still intolerable, a referral may be in order so that you may receive a sedative via IV.
  • Impacted teeth- More often than not, if your tooth is impacted, you’ll be referred to an oral surgeon because of the intensity of the procedure. IV sedation is commonly used with this type of surgery.
  • Broken or severely decayed teeth- If your tooth is broken or severely decayed, it’ll be more difficult to remove because of the probability of breakage. When this occurs, the tooth must be removed in pieces making an oral surgeon the better choice.
  • An implant is going to be placed- If your tooth is being extracted and an implant is being placed simultaneously, an oral surgeon is recommended since they place the implant. Even if an implant isn’t placed immediately, the oral surgeon may still want to perform the extraction if the socket needs further treatment to support an implant later.
  • Extensive medical history- If you have medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, blood disorders, or a complicated medical history, most dentists will automatically refer to an oral surgeon. It’s much safer for you because of the controlled environment and monitoring protocol while under anesthesia.

Most dentists know their limitations when it comes to extracting teeth and won’t hesitate to refer you to a specialist who is proficient in more complicated procedures. For this reason, if you’re referred to an oral surgeon, follow the recommendation.

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