Permanent, adult teeth are supposed to last a lifetime, but sometimes tooth extraction becomes necessary to maintain oral health. Thankfully, with today’s various tooth replacement options, losing a tooth doesn’t mean dealing with an uncomfortable space in your mouth. Dentists do their best to save teeth and protect your smile, but in some cases, tooth extraction is the safest and healthiest solution to a dental issue.
Reasons for tooth extractions
One of the most common reasons for tooth extraction is having a tooth that’s suffered too much damage from decay or trauma to be repairable. Additional reasons for having a tooth removed include:
- Tooth pulp infection – When damage and decay reach the tooth’s center where the nerves and blood vessels lay, called the pulp, bacteria can invade the pulp and cause an infection. Root canal therapy may be able to treat the infection, but if it’s too severe, extraction can be required to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Infection risk – Sometimes other health issues require that a potentially infected tooth undergo extraction to prevent further problems in a patient with a compromised immune system, such as someone undergoing chemotherapy.
- Crowding – Sometimes orthodontia treatments require tooth extractions to eliminate overcrowding in the mouth. The purpose of orthodontia is to align a patient’s teeth properly, but when the teeth are too big for the mouth, extraction may be necessary.
- Impacted tooth – When a tooth is impacted in the gum and hasn’t erupted because of lack of room in the mouth, the dentist may extract it to avoid damaging other teeth, infections, and crowding.
- Gum disease – If a tooth or teeth have grown loose due to gum disease and the subsequent infection of the bones and tissue supporting the teeth, the dentist may extract the teeth to help restore oral health.
Tooth extraction procedure
The procedure for tooth extraction depends on the reason for removing the tooth or teeth. Before the extraction, the dentist administers a local anesthetic to numb the region, and if more than one tooth requires removal, the dentist may use a general anesthetic that prevents pain and sedates the patient. The dentist’s primary goal during an extraction is to make sure you remain comfortable and that the infected, impacted and damaged tooth receives safe complete removal.
Following tooth extraction
Recovery from tooth extraction usually takes a few days, and the dentist will send you home with instructions that helps reduce infection risk and discomfort while speeding recovery. If the dentist prescribes painkillers or antibiotics, make sure you take them as directed. Rest as necessary and avoid smoking, which can inhibit the healing process. The total healing time following tooth extraction can take about 1-2 weeks, during which time new gum tissue and bone will grow into the space left by the missing tooth. Without a replacement tooth option, surrounding teeth can shift into space, which is why dentists recommend a replacement such as a fixed bridge, denture or dental implant.
With today’s tooth replacement innovations, there’s no need to worry about your smile if a tooth extraction becomes necessary. If you’re suffering from a condition that requires extraction, contact Dupont Dental to discuss your treatment options and possible tooth replacement.