Tooth extraction is always a last resort. Your dentist works to prevent dental extractions whenever necessary and tries to save your natural tooth. In some cases, however, no amount of restorative dentistry can help a damaged or infected tooth and it must be extracted to prevent your other teeth and gums from damage. At Ingleside Family Dental in Ladson, SC, Dr. Marilyn Mathew thoughtfully considers your circumstances before making the appropriate choice to preserve your oral health.
Reasons for Tooth Extractions
While you may be daunted when you think about having a tooth extracted, sometimes this decision is the best thing for your smile. You’ll understand why when you read about some of the most common reasons for tooth extractions:
- Severe tooth decay: When tooth decay is large and aggressive or left unattended for too long, it can cause severe pain. When root canal therapy or other treatments are not enough to repair this problem, extraction alleviates pain.
- Advanced gum disease: Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss among adults. When this infection is untreated, pockets form around teeth and the roots loosen. These teeth, quite often, can only be fixed by being extracted.
- Injured tooth: If a tooth has a broken root or you suffer bone fracture or jaw trauma, the problem may not be visible above the surface, but there is something bad going on under the gum line. Extraction may be the only solution to stop pain and prevent complications.
- Deteriorating tooth: Some teeth have a shelf life. If teeth have been treated in the past but are consistently deteriorating, they may be past the point of restoration. An extraction can keep nearby teeth safe and help you avoid pain and discomfort.
- Infected tooth: When a tooth has an infection or an abscess, the problem has gone deep into the pulp of the tooth. If it cannot be repaired by root canal therapy, the tooth must be pulled to stop the infection from traveling and threatening the rest of your health and well-being.
- Crowded teeth: If you are preparing for orthodontic treatment, crowding is an issue that is regularly handled with this treatment. However, sometimes a small mouth simply has too many teeth to manage and a tooth may need to be removed.
- Wisdom teeth: When impacted or partially impacted wisdom teeth are not erupting properly, they will push on the rest of your teeth, potentially causing damage and definitely causing pain. Extraction is the safest choice to protect your oral health.
The Tooth Extraction Process
Tooth extraction is a routine procedure, but it can be daunting if you have never had it done before. The extraction takes time – after all, adult teeth have fully established root systems. Even damaged teeth need to have the entirety of the tooth – above and below the gumline – removed for a successful extraction.
- Prep: The area around the tooth is numbed completely so you only experience slight pressure during the procedure.
- Remove: The tooth is moved around in the socket so it fully separates from the ligament.
- Clean: Infected tissues are removed and the socket is washed thoroughly, leaving no particles behind.
- Close: The extraction site is closed and prepped for later dental restorations, as needed.
- Heal: Detailed aftercare instructions are provided.
Getting a Dental Restoration After a Tooth Extraction
Extracted teeth – unless they’re wisdom teeth – need to be replaced. Every tooth has an important role to play in your mouth, not only functionally but to maintain your face shape and the appearance of your smile. Once your mouth has healed from the tooth extraction, you and your Ladson dentist can discuss the most appropriate dental restoration, including:
- Dental implants
- Dental bridges
- Partial dentures
- Implant-retained dentures