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¿Qué Tiene que Ver Conmigo? por Teófila Gottfried

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When Not To Trust A General Dentist for Tooth Extraction


Tooth extraction is a common part of the daily work that a dentist performs, usually without incident. However, he or she doesn't specialize in the extraction of teeth. This is precisely why a patient may not want to trust the performance of an extraction to a dentist.

Not all teeth are formed alike. Some have teeth with extremely long roots that can make tooth extraction terribly uncomfortable and even impossible for a general dentist. The author of this article witnessed such an unfortunate event during which a dentist at a community health center, halted her failed attempt to extract a young man's tooth, and made a desperate call to the oral surgeon to see if she could send the patient to him without delay.

It's understandable that the young patient, after enduring much agony, would not consent to remain in the dentist chair and refused to be sent to the oral surgeon on that day. He responded to the dentist's request to hold on a little longer to get the tooth out with, "I've been in agony the whole time and I can't take any more today, I'm leaving."

What could have been the problem that a well trained and experienced dentist was incapable of performing the tooth extraction? Could the unfortunate event have been foreseen and prevented? The answer is that it probably could have. As stated earlier, not everyone's teeth are formed alike. Some have teeth that are unusually large with extremely long and thick, gripping roots. They can be terribly difficult or impossible to remove by a dentist who ends up subjecting such a patient to a very unpleasant experience due to a lack of skill that comes only with specialization. An oral surgeon possesses such a skill because they are specialists that have undergone training beyond that of a general dentist. They don't clean teeth. They don't do fillings, crowns or root canals. All day and everyday they perform some type of oral surgery which includes, but isn't limited to, the extraction of teeth.

Consequently, they've seen it all: very large teeth; long, fat roots that grab like tree roots; impacted teeth; and a variety of other unique circumstances. They employ tools in their profession that dentists don't--tools needed to get very delicate jobs done. They know how to handle unique problems that can occur since they face, on a daily basis, what a dentist may only see every few years.

Some are fortunate enough to have a dentist refuse to extract their tooth due to the size of it and the length and thickness of the roots. Their dentist takes the time to explain the need to leave such a procedure to an oral surgeon, not only because he has the skill needed to remove the tooth without causing injury, but also because he's received training in the administration of sedatives and general anesthesia such as the common versed-fentanyl mix. If an individual is healthy enough to be put under a general anesthesia, it may be advisable to do if he's very queasy about having the procedure done.

Sadly, not all have been fortunate enough to have received such advice from their general dentist and many will not be given such advice. Most people have found it very beneficial and even necessary to educate themselves about their own health. They've learned to ask questions about their diagnosis, available treatments, and prescribed medications. Some have even learned the importance of educating themselves as far as possible about the type of anesthesia that will be administered as side effects can last for years and cause damage. Dental patients may want to start with simply asking their dentist about the roots of their teeth as they view their x-rays. There's nothing to stop someone from making his or her own decision to leave his tooth textraction to an oral surgeon. It may just spare him a lot of discomfort.
©2010 Ana Kirk
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