Extracting a tooth seems extreme to many people, especially with all the techniques and procedures available in modern dentistry. While preserving the natural tooth is always the preferred option, there are times that an extraction is necessary. These cases usually involve too much damage to the tooth, gum disease, or excess teeth.
Cavities come in all different shapes and sizes since decay can hit different spots. Fillings are used to fix cavities, but only if there is enough outer shell of a tooth to support them. If too many cavities are on one tooth or the decay goes too deep, crowns or extractions become the only options. If there is already a crown on the tooth and decay hits the roots, extraction becomes the only option.
Plaque is a sticky yellow substance that clings to the teeth. It traps bacteria, promoting decay and causing irritation to the surrounding tissues and teeth. This is how gum disease begins, and if left untreated, escalates to cause big problems. If gum disease advances, it becomes hard to hold teeth in the tissue. Sometimes extraction is necessary to preserve the health of the rest of the mouth and treat the problems in the gum tissue.
When there isn’t enough room in the mouth for all the teeth there, they become crooked and compact. Braces alone cannot fix these problems and sometimes teeth need to be extracted to make room. Sometimes there are extra teeth that come in at random locations in the mouth.
A more common form of excess teeth are the wisdom teeth. While sometimes they come all the way through the gum tissue, there is not being enough room for them. Spacing isn’t the only issue with wisdom teeth. Since they are in the back of the mouth, they are harder to keep clean and infection is common. They can also cause severe pain as they come in and to the surrounding teeth.
After the Extraction
Removing teeth causes the bone in the jaw that held the tooth to recede almost immediately. Dr. Britton immediately preserves the site to help prevent additional problems from coming up. Replacing the tooth in cases other than excess teeth, you need to replace the space to keep the teeth from all falling in. There are several different options available, including implants and bridges.
An implant is a titanium post that is placed inside your jaw bone. It requires a certain amount of bone, so the timing after an extraction is critical. If you don’t have enough bone, doing a bone graft may be necessary. After a few months, when the post has fused to the jaw bone, you come back in the office and a crown is attached. This tooth feels and acts like a permanent tooth.
A bridge is a series of three connected crowns. It is attached by using the two teeth on either side of the gap as posts. The bridge keeps the teeth from shifting out of place and help the mouth look normal.
Extracting a tooth is something we take very seriously and hope to avoid. When the need arises though, we work hard to make sure that you understand the process and your options. The overall health of your mouth is our main priority and we take that seriously.