The description of tooth roots wrapping around the jawbone involves a bit of poetic license; roots can’t actually go around the jaw bone. This is more of a descriptive term for troublesome tooth roots that are a bit more… meandering than they should be.
Tooth roots sit within the jaw. But sometimes those roots may behave in an unusual manner, or even become fused to the jaw bone. A tooth’s roots can also be longer than usual, whether naturally or due to abnormal growth. Both of these conditions can complicate your oral health and any oral procedures you may have done. Atypical tooth roots can become particularly difficult when extracting a tooth.
Extraction Complications with Wayward Tooth Roots
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, especially if they’re curved in different directions.
Dealing with Tooth Roots Tangled in the Jaw
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. Occasionally, removing a tangled root requires intervention into the jaw bone itself, if piecing out the tooth doesn’t work. Unfortunately, complications with tooth roots almost always mean a bit more invasive of an oral surgery than was at-first planned, whether an impacted wisdom tooth removal or tooth extraction of another kind. Don’t worry; that’s what sedation dentistry and anesthesia are for.
Possible Problems with Wisdom Teeth Roots
Wisdom tooth roots are most often the culprit of root-related complications. 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, because it’s not yet fully grown into its place in the jaw.
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.
Eye Teeth Have Longer Roots than Other Teeth
Some teeth naturally have longer roots, which make them more prone to impaction and abnormal jaw implantation. 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 erupt properly, that is referred to as an impacted or unerupted tooth. Behind wisdom teeth, eye teeth are the most common types of teeth to become impacted.
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, progressing 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. Even the most complicated cases of abnormal wisdom teeth roots or impacted tooth extraction would never require such an intervention. Wisdom tooth removal, even the difficult ones, aren’t really that bad. Nothing to be scared of.
Complications with your wisdom teeth roots, eye teeth, or an infected tooth that needs a root canal? For oral surgery procedures in and around Cincinnati and Wilmington Ohio, please contact our office for questions and set up and appointment.