services-procedures - Coastal Carolina Oral Surgery - Wilmington, NC

Wisdom Tooth Extractions

Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 16 and 25. It is common for wisdom teeth to affect other teeth as they develop, becoming impacted or even "coming in sideways." They are often extracted when this occurs.

Sometimes the wisdom tooth fails to erupt completely through the gum bed. The gum then extends over the biting surface, forming a soft tissue flap around the tooth, making the area difficult to clean. Debris and bacteria can easily accumulate, which may cause a mild to severe infection. In this situation, recommended treatment is extraction of the wisdom tooth.

Long-term, multi-center, prospective studies have shown that because of inflammatory reactions, wisdom teeth have been linked to worsening of diabetes, cardiac issues, failed prosthetic joints, premature labor, and low birth weight in babies. Dentists have known for many years that what happens in the mouth can affect other important areas of the body. The remainder of the medical community is now agreeing with these findings and the recommendations of having nearly all wisdom teeth extracted (depending on the patient’s individual situation) is now being recommended.

Head & Neck Cancer and Pre-Radiation Extractions

Because radiation kills all cells indiscriminately (including blood vessels, nerves, muscle and bone cells), patients undergoing radiation therapy of the head-and-neck region can suffer horrific complications if a bone infection occurs. These complications may require the use of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) to encourage new vascularization of the radiated bed. This is very expensive and time consuming for the patient, as the nearest HBO chambers are in Lumberton and at Duke Hospitals.

When extractions are necessary in this patient population, and as a result of being in the radiation field, they are performed as minimally invasive as possible. However, the ultimate goal is to eliminate all existing disease and prevent future problems due to decreased salivation and decreased mouth opening (trismus). Dr. Arné has seen the consequences of attempting to maintain all dentition while the patient is undergoing external beam radiation. Unfortunately, the outcome can lead to severe bone infections (osteoradionecrosis) and big surgeries up to five to ten years in the future, when fore sight may have prevented the entire situation altogether. Dr. Arné will work very closely with your cancer team of Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, ENT, and Speech Pathologists throughout the entire treatment process and many years into the future.