The description of tooth roots wrapping around the jawbone involves a bit of poetic license. Roots do not go around the jaw bone.
Tooth roots are embedded in the jaw, but those roots may behave in an unusual manner. The roots can also be longer than usual. Both of these conditions may complicate matters, particularly when extracting a tooth.
Tooth Roots And Complications
The challenges with a tooth extraction most often involve the roots and their arrangement. For teeth that have multiple roots, such as molars, the root configuration can vary widely from mouth to mouth and from tooth to tooth.
If a molar’s roots have hooks or more curvature than usual, it can complicate the extraction. Removing such teeth may require more force than usual, and that force could break a tooth.
All roots are curved, but teeth with extra-curvy roots are more difficult to remove.
Dealing With Tooth Roots
One way to deal with this issue is to remove one part of the tooth at a time. We can break a molar into sections, with each section having its own root. This can alleviate some of the issue, as it requires less force to remove a single tooth section than to pull the entire multi-rooted molar at once.
This strategy also lets us approach individual roots one-by-one if it is needed. It could be the case that one section of the molar has an unusually curved root, and that section requires attention on its own.
Another potential complication is if the roots are larger than usual.
Roots and Wisdom Teeth
Root size comes into consideration when we evaluate a patient for wisdom tooth extraction. We try to extract wisdom teeth when the roots are not fully developed. When the roots are only halfway formed, the wisdom tooth is significantly easier to pull. This is one of the reasons that young people tend to be better candidates for wisdom tooth extraction — their root structures have only grown to 2/3 of their eventual development. This time, when the wisdom teeth begin to emerge but the roots are not yet fully grown, often occurs between the ages of 17 and 25.
Longer Roots – Eye Teeth
Some teeth naturally have longer roots. Canine teeth, also known as cuspids, have longer roots than other teeth. In your upper jaw, these teeth are also referred to as “eye teeth.” Since these cuspid roots can be longer than those of other teeth, the cuspids can be trickier to extract.
If your tooth stays in the jaw bone, however, and does not grow out properly, we say that it is impacted. Another word for this is “unerupted.”
While it may require significant force to remove wisdom teeth, it is never necessary to break the jaw during wisdom teeth extraction. Patients will sometimes some to our office believing this to be the case, but it is simply untrue. Extraction of wisdom teeth does not require a jawbone break. What is possible, however, is that the jaw bone can become weakened by the extraction process, for months following the surgery. If this happens, then there may be an increased chance of bone breakage due to accidents. But the extraction process itself will not break the jaw.
For oral surgery procedures in and around Cincinnati and Wilmington Ohio, please contact our office for questions and to set up and appointment.