We are in the business of saving teeth, and our doctors want all of their patients to have every one of their teeth for a lifetime. However, sometimes things happen and a tooth needs to be extracted.
The thought of having a root canal or tooth extraction often makes people a little nervous, and that’s why we do everything we can to make you feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed during the entire course of your treatment. Both treatments are sometimes necessary for the longevity and maintenance of your overall oral health. Severely damaged teeth increase the possibility of infection and can threaten the health of the surrounding teeth and gums, potentially leading to the need for more drastic and costly dental treatments down the road.
How will I know if I need an extraction?
It is our philosophy to try to save as many teeth as possible. Although there are many tooth replacement options, nothing functions or feels better than your natural tooth. Upon consultation, we can determine which procedure presents the best option for you, your smile, and your long-term oral health. We will provide you with a thorough and complete examination and discuss with you the reasons a root canal or tooth extraction may be the best, most necessary course of action.
When will you recommend an extraction?
There are some cases where the tooth is too broken down or decayed to restore and extracting the tooth is the only option. We recommend extracting these teeth because leaving a broken or decayed tooth in your mouth will lead to an infection and/or toothache in the future. Tooth extraction is a surgical procedure that can rid you of a problem tooth once and for all and can be safely and easily performed by your doctor.
Why are extractions performed?
Dental extractions are performed for a variety of reasons, including tooth decay, injury, infection, and for orthodontic treatment. Extractions are a relatively common procedure in most dental offices. The difficulty of the procedure varies depending on the case and the patient, however, anesthesia is used to numb the area and prevent discomfort during the procedure.
Types of Extractions
There are two forms of extractions: simple and surgical.
Simple extractions are performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth and that do not require sectioning the tooth or incising the gum tissue for removal. These extractions are performed on teeth that must be removed due to extensive decay or injury, or even orthodontic treatment, and are usually performed under a local anesthetic. During this procedure, the doctor will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the instrument back and forth until the supporting structures widen enough to allow the removal of the tooth.
Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line, have not yet come in, or those that cannot be easily extracted. To remove the tooth, the doctor will have to cut and pull back the gums, which allows access to the area. This is necessary for visibility so that we can see the tooth that needs to be removed. Surgical extractions are usually performed under local anesthesia but general anesthesia is sometimes preferred, especially for wisdom teeth extractions.
Reasons for Tooth Extraction
The most common reason for the removal of a tooth is severe decay or breakage of a tooth that cannot be saved. However, teeth may also be removed because of:
- Severe tooth decay or infection
- Extra teeth that are blocking other teeth from growing in (supernumerary teeth)
- Severe gum disease
- Orthodontic treatment
- Non-restorable teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Cosmetic reasons
Regardless of the reasons that a tooth must be pulled, extractions are usually reserved only for cases in which no other treatment option will cure the infection or problem.
Why Missing Teeth Should Be Replaced
If you choose to extract a tooth, it is important to consider how the space will be filled once the extraction is complete. There are many complications that can occur if the space is left as is. The surrounding teeth can shift or tilt into the missing teeth. Bone loss can occur. Changes in your bite may be noticeable. The ability to chew your food may be compromised causing digestion problems. Your smile may also be affected by having a space where the tooth was.
There are many options for tooth replacement, including implants and dental bridges. Our doctors can show you options that may work specifically for you.
Extractions and Bone Loss
When teeth are extracted, bone loss begins to happen right away. The best way to prevent this bone loss is to have a bone graft placed at the time of extraction. Oral surgeons and periodontists are very skilled at placing and choosing the best bone grafting material for your extraction site and can perform this procedure at the time of extraction.
When many teeth are lost, bone loss can affect the entire jaw. When this loss of jaw height is lost, it can cause skeletal changes that change your personal appearance. Please contact our office today to find out more about meeting your needs.