Three Risk Factors During Wisdom Tooth Extraction That Can Lead To Nerve Damage

Though the odds are very small, about 2% of patients experience nerve damage when having wisdom teeth removed. This happens because the wisdom teeth grow close to multiple nerves, which include your mandibular, maxillary, and lingual nerves. Of these 3 nerves, 70% of nerve damage cases involve lingual nerves.

Before you have surgery to remove any wisdom teeth, know about the potential risk factors that can make nerve damage possible.

Your Age

If you are over 35 years old, the risk of nerve damage occurring is greater. This is because roots belonging to the wisdom teeth can be very intricate as you get older. That is why it is ideal to have wisdom teeth removed at a young age when the tooth is just starting to form. If a wisdom tooth is coming in when you are older, and it is not causing any complications, a dentist may advise that it is left alone because of the risk factor of removing it at an older age.

Your Tooth's Location

The orientation and location of your tooth can make it more risky to remove. If it is close to a nerve, there is a high probability that you'll have some type of nerve damage during the extraction process. For instance, your tooth may be resting against a nerve, making the extraction a tricky situation for your oral surgeon. If your wisdom tooth has partially broken through the gum line, it could make the potential for nerve damage even higher.

A dentist will take an x-ray in order to assess the potential risk before extracting a tooth. If it looks risky, they may leave the tooth in, because the chance of nerve damage is too high.

The Extraction Technique

There are certain extraction methods that are more risky. For instance, there is an extraction procedure that will require raising the flap of your lingual mucoperiosteal when the tooth has not broken through the gum line. It's a procedure that causes nerve damage complications 11% of the time, even though it is temporary damage. A permanent injury can happen when a bur is used to remove bone to extract the tooth.

Even though it's rare that a complication can happen, it's important to be aware of what makes the extraction procedure more risky. If you have questions about your potential risk factors, ask your dentist during your consultation to have wisdom teeth extracted.