Better out than in: why damaged molars are best removed *H&H Plus*

  • A diseased or damaged molar that is beyond repair is best removed, but how? Neil Townsend MRCVS explains

    Dental extraction can appear daunting to an owner. When performed by a suitably qualified and skilled clinician, however, with the correct equipment, it can be a routine procedure. Often, the patient does not have to stay in hospital, and time off following extraction is minimal.

    The most common reason for removal of a molar (cheek) tooth is infection of its roots, termed apical infection.

    Signs of infection can vary, dependent upon which tooth is involved. Generally, infection of mandibular (lower) cheek teeth creates a swelling on the bottom of the jaw, which may burst out into a draining tract (a surface wound). Apical infection of the front maxillary (upper) cheek teeth usually causes swelling in front of the facial crest – the bony ridge either side of the face. Because the back maxillary teeth have their roots within the sinuses, infection typically causes nasal discharge.

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