My dentist removed four teeth before Invisalign treatment and left one tooth root behind by mistake. He says a premolar tooth root touches a nerve, and an oral surgeon must remove it. The surgeon explained the risks for numbness that can be brief, last for months, or permanent paralysis. Can I skip this surgery? I’ve already delayed Invisalign treatment for the first surgery. Thank you. Chase from NH
You need a second opinion with another oral surgeon to examine your X-rays and determine what you might expect with surgery.
Is it Necessary to Remove Tooth Roots Left After Extraction?
Sometimes, tooth roots left after extraction are harmless. However, if you are in Invisalign treatment and the tooth is a lower molar, the root can affect the movement of other teeth.
Oral surgeons must protect themselves from lawsuits and explain the most extreme results of surgery. The risk of nerve damage with wisdom teeth is higher than with premolars. Still, if a tooth root touches a nerve, the roots may affect the mental foramen nerve that travels along the lower lip and chin. You might have some temporary numbness or complete loss of sensation but not paralysis.
An oral surgeon can see the nerve on an X-ray and, with good technique, avoid damaging it during surgery.
Get a Second Opinion
If you want to feel confident about your decision to accept or decline surgery, schedule a second opinion with another oral surgeon. They will examine your X-rays and explain your options. The surgeon will also explain what you can expect if you do or don’t have surgery to remove the tooth root.
Dr. Duane Delaune of Metairie, Louisiana, sponsors this post. Read why Dr. Delaune’s patients consider him one of the best dentists in town.