Wisdom Teeth

Also known as a third molar and usually has 2 or more roots. There is often not enough space in the dental arch for these teeth to erupt resulting in the wisdom teeth being impacted and non-functional.  This makes them difficult to access for hygiene, predisposing them to dental and periodontal complications, causing damage to adjacent teeth and their surrounding bone. Wisdom teeth are unique in that their anatomy is highly variable, including the number of roots and their proximity to critical anatomy like the maxillary sinus, inferior alveolar nerve and lingual nerves.

Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons have extensive training to identify and mitigate these risks for their patients.

Dentoalveolar Surgery

Dentoalveolar surgery involves the management of soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. The most common reason for referral to an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon is for the removal of wisdom teeth and difficult extractions that risk damage to the maxillary sinus or nerves giving sensation to the are. This includes teeth that have fractured or caused unforeseen complications for a general dentist. Some patients choose to visit an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon upon hearing they require removal of a tooth to minimise the risk of any complications and ensure they receive the most stress-free, care possible.

Dentoalveolar surgery can be performed under local anaesthetic, twilight sedation or general anaesthetic.

Other Procedures

  • Removal of difficult, fratured or impacted teeth.
  • Contouring of residual hard tissues for Implant or denture planning.
  • Retrieval of foreign bodies and displaced teeth in the maxillary sinus.
  • Bone grafting for dental Implants.
  • Apicectomies – Removal of infected root tips to assist prognosis of root canal treated teeth.
  • Compromised extractions – Patients requiring surgery in an area previously undergone radiation therapy, patients who have/are taking antiresorption medication or medically comprimised patients.
  • Coronectomy – Used for the management of teeth that have a high risk of causing numbness to the lip if removed.

Surgical Risks

  • Numbness to the lip chin and or tongue.
  • Alterations in taste.
  • Damage to adjacent Teeth
  • Oro-Antral communication (OAC) or Oro-antral fistula.
  • Recession of the gingiva (Gums).
  • Loss of surrounding bone.
  • Dry socket - Self limiting.
Southern Cross Health Insurance AffiliateNew Zealand Medical CouncilAustralian and New Zealand Association of Oral & Maxillofacial SurgeonsRoyal Australasian College of Dental SurgeonsAHPRACanterbury District Health Board