If my dentist left a tooth root behind after my upper right first molar extraction, do I need it removed? She referred me to an oral surgeon to remove the rest, but they can’t see me until December. Why would my dentist close the gums knowing she left a root behind? Do I really need an extraction, or is this part of the buddy system? Thanks. Diego from Boulder, CO
The roots of the upper first molar teeth are often close to the sinus wall. If roots break during an extraction, attempting to remove them can poke into the sinus, causing a perforation. Removing the roots can be complex, and a sinus perforation increases complication risks.
How Long Can You Wait to Get a Tooth Root Tip Removed?
If a root fragment broke off during tooth extraction, removing it within a few days is the safest option. Otherwise, the bone will fill in, making retrieving the root tip more challenging.
Why Do Tooth Roots Break During an Extraction?
A tooth root tip may break during extraction if its shape prevents easy removal. It is not unusual for root tips to break. Some dentists who see the root shape on an X-ray before the extraction anticipate the complication and refer the patient to an oral surgeon. Immediate referral to a specialist ensures the tooth and roots get removed and can prevent the need for a second surgery.
We recommend getting a second opinion from an oral surgeon right away. If your dental insurance requires you to see a general dentist for a referral first, look for a skilled dentist with experience in tooth removal and try to get an appointment soon.
Must a Tooth Root Be Removed?
After reviewing your X-ray, an experienced dentist or surgeon will see the tooth root’s position and determine whether it will harm your sinuses or is too risky to remove.
David Finley, DDS, a Monroe, Louisiana, dentist and Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, sponsors this post. Read about what Dr. Finley, Dr. Thompson, and Dr. Coughran do to provide some of the best dental care in Monroe.