A maxillary tuberosity is a rounded extension of the maxilla bone, per the American Dental Association (ADA). This protrusion is located in your upper jaw behind your third molars, also known as wisdom teeth. It's common for the area to grow as your molars erupt, and it also helps stabilize your upper teeth, reports the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine (JNSBM). In some cases, wisdom teeth extraction, one of the most common oral surgery procedures today, can lead to a fracture, or break, in the bone. Find out what you need to know about this kind of fracture and how an oral surgeon treats it.
How Does a Fracture Occur?
Generally speaking, when your oral surgeon performs a third molar extraction, the alveolar bone that holds the tooth in place is separated from the roots of the tooth to remove the tooth and assist in the healing process, says the JNSBM. A patient who has a large maxillary sinus cavity with thin walls, molars with irregular roots or certain rare conditions, such as stiffness in the area, fused teeth or a tooth that protrudes farther than normal may be at higher risk of experiencing a fracture, notes the JNSBM.
If a fracture occurs, you may hear a cracking sound during the procedure or both the bone and tooth may come loose together. It may also create a fistula, or irregular opening, between your sinus and oral cavities, according to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA).
Symptoms of Maxillary Tuberosity Fracture
A fracture can potentially affect your recovery time and destabilize the surrounding area. In some cases, the resulting heavy bleeding may cause a life-threatening event, reports the JNSBM.
Some patients experience a sharp pain if a fracture occurs while others have no pain. You may also experience a sinus infection or reflux related to the break, notes the CDA. While there may be some indicators that a fracture has occurred, ultimately, it's best to seek confirmation from your oral surgeon.
Seek Treatment Right Away
If your dentist believes you have a fracture, you'll most likely be referred to a specialist to salvage the bone, says the JNSBM. Whether a puncture has occurred in your sinus cavity or the fracture is isolated to your maxilla only, an oral maxillofacial surgeon, a dental specialist who specializes in extractions and conditions affecting the face or oral cavity, will stabilize the break with water-tight sutures. For larger fractures, the surgeon may stint it to nearby teeth by attaching a wire and allowing it to heal for six to eight weeks, says the CDA. Likewise, you may receive antibiotics to prevent a potential infection. Only when the area is properly stabilized will an oral surgeon move forward with a molar extraction, if it was not completed originally.
Keeping up with your good oral routine after dental surgery is essential. Brushing with a toothpaste like Colgate Sensitive Complete Protection, which provides 24/7 sensitivity protection and helps strengthen and harden enamel, is one way to care for your teeth daily. As with all medical procedures, following your doctor's instructions for care in the first days and weeks after the procedure is critical to your long-term health and healing.