Tooth extractions, or the removal of one or more teeth, are usually used as a last resort in dentistry, as keeping the natural tooth in the mouth is ideal. There are many reasons why single or multiple extractions may be performed, including pervasive tooth decay, the impaction of wisdom teeth, or the need to create space for orthodontic devices.
The most significant short-term benefit associated with tooth extraction is the elimination of pain. If a tooth is severely decayed or an infection is present, removing the affected tooth almost immediately alleviates discomfort. However, it should be noted that further procedures are necessary to replace the extracted tooth. Leaving a gap is not a viable option as the other teeth tend to twist out of alignment to fill the space.
Why might I need to have a tooth extraction?
Tooth extractions are incredibly common procedures. It should be reiterated that an extraction is used as a procedure of last resort, when nothing more can be done to save the tooth.
Here is a brief overview of some of the main reasons for tooth extraction:
Deep decay – This is easily one of the most common reason for tooth extraction. When decay affects the surface of the tooth as well as the pulp, root canal procedures can be difficult to performed. Root canal therapy is only viable where the general structure of the tooth is in stable condition.
Periodontal disease – This is the primary reason for tooth loss among adults. Often teeth have to be extracted because the gums and underlying bone are so severely eroded that they can no longer hold the tooth in place securely. The cause of bone and gum recession is almost always advanced periodontal disease (gum disease). Poor bone density means that the chance of restoring the natural tooth is minimal.
Extra teeth –There are a variety of explanations associated with extra teeth, but most commonly they are baby teeth that do not shed. Extra teeth take up space on the arch, causing nearby teeth to twist out of place. A tooth extraction is necessary in this case to provide enough space for the teeth to properly realign.
Prior to braces – Traditional orthodontic braces require enough space to for the teeth to move into ideal alignment. If space cannot be created naturally, a tooth may be extracted as an alternative.
Fractured teeth – Fortunately, dentists are able to save injured teeth in most circumstances with the aid of root canal therapy. However, there are some instances where the tooth has become fractured in a way that makes repair impossible. Your oral health professional will remove the tooth and use a prosthetic replacement in most cases.
How is the extraction procedure performed?
Generally, tooth extraction can be simple in nature or involve more complex surgical processes. At Mountaineer Dental and Sleep Center, we pride ourselves on making this experience as pleasant as possible. Sometimes, this will involve a referral to a specialist, such as an oral surgeon.
Anesthesia will be administered in order to provide adequate numbing to the areas prior to treatment. Once the anesthesia takes effect, our doctors use specialized instruments to elevate the tooth out of place.
Preservation of Bone and Space
We will also discuss your long-term plans for replacing missing teeth before and tooth extraction. Leaving a space is always an option, but spaces in your smile can create appearance and functional challenges that are important to consider. Teeth slowly shift or migrate into open spaces and minimizing the effects of an unbalanced bite can prevent issues later in life.
Although our primary goal is to help your teeth stay healthy and functional, an extraction is sometimes the best way to preserve the overall health of your mouth. Since teeth help nourish our bodies, we will work with you to create a plan that fits your dental needs, smile goals and finances.
How do you preserve the space and bone?
- The bone around your teeth, called alveolar bone, holds the teeth firmly in place. If bone shrinks away from your teeth, it never grows back on its own. However, bone can be encouraged to fill in through the use of grafting materials. Each patient experience is unique, but many options exist for bone grafting.
- When a tooth is removed, a large hole exists in the bone. While it will eventually fill in naturally through healing, the area tends to shrink. This results in bone shrinking away from the surrounding teeth, putting them in jeopardy. Grafting materials can be placed at the time of tooth removal to help preserve the existing bone level. Bone grafts are especially beneficial if you are considering an implant-supported restoration in the future.
If you have any questions or concerns about tooth extraction, please contact our office.