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When Tooth Extraction Might Be Necessary

When Tooth Extraction Might Be Necessary

Nobody wants to have a tooth extracted, especially not your dentist. After all, he’s in the business of saving your teeth and promoting good oral health. Sometimes, though, a tooth is too diseased or broken to save, necessitating an extraction.

At Simple Smiles in Johnson City, Tennessee your oral health is our top priority. Our team does their best to save even damaged or decayed teeth, but occasionally a tooth extraction becomes necessary. Here’s what you need to know about what factors into his decision.

When a tooth extraction might be necessary

Your teeth are strong enough to bite and chew all kinds of things, but they aren’t indestructible. Even though it’s always preferable to retain your natural teeth, in cases of severe disease or injury, it may be better for your overall oral health to extract a tooth than suffer the consequences of holding on to it. Here are some reasons we may opt to extract one of your teeth.

Tooth decay, disease, and infection

Failing to brush and floss properly can lead to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which turns into a sticky plaque that can harden into difficult-to-remove tartar. The acid produced by the bacteria eats away the enamel covering the teeth, leading to decay. If caught early enough, the dentist can use amalgam or composite fillings to repair small, and sometimes even large, holes. However, if the decay reaches the tooth’s interior, which contains blood vessels and nerves, the tissue can become infected, causing pain and inflammation.

A root canal is a procedure in which the dentist removes the tooth’s inner tissue, cleaning out and filling the canals that extend into the root structure. This procedure saves the root, but it needs to be topped with an artificial dental crown

Sometimes, though, the infection is sufficiently advanced that neither a root canal nor any antibiotic can kill it off. In these cases, the only option may be a tooth extraction.

Injury or trauma

Sometimes accidents, whether vehicular, sports, or even a fall, involve your teeth. A cracked or broken tooth can cause damage to nearby teeth or to the gums around it. We check to see if the tooth can be saved and restored with a filling or crown, but if it’s too badly damaged to repair, we may have to extract it.

If we do extract a tooth, another restoration option is a dental implant, a metal rod fused with your jaw bone for stability then fitted with a dental crown on top. It’s the closest you can get to a natural tooth’s look and functionality.

Abnormal tooth development

Not every tooth erupts through the gums as it should and can become impacted (trapped between the bone and the gum). This most commonly happens with wisdom teeth, your third set of molars, which don’t normally come in until age 17-25

Impacted teeth are more likely to become infected or be associated with complications, such as pain and inflammation, so they’re often extracted to prevent future problems. As these teeth are evolutionary relics from a time when our diet was coarser and harder to chew, extraction doesn’t damage your oral health but instead protects it.

We may also recommend tooth extraction for children whose baby teeth haven’t fallen out at the correct time, though it’s often prudent to wait a couple of years after the expected time to ensure they won’t fall out on their own. Extraction encourages the adult teeth to erupt on time and in the correct positions, reducing the need for orthodontia.

Crowded teeth/orthodontia

Some people have a small jaw bone that doesn’t provide enough room to hold all adult teeth in the correct positions, and the teeth become crowded. Crowding and misalignment can lead to excessive wear-and-tear, chipped teeth, gum irritation, and difficulty chewing. A small mouth can also prove problematic for moving teeth with orthodontic treatment.

One possibility to address this issue is to use palate expanders to widen the jaw and allow more space for the teeth to be aligned; the other is to extract some of the teeth so those that remain won’t be crowded. In addition, teeth too big for the size of the mouth may also need to be extracted, so they don’t get in the way of the teeth being moved.

Your orthodontist, or an oral surgeon, should extract all the required teeth before installing the braces; teeth are almost always removed symmetrically to maintain the balance of your bite.

If you have a tooth in trouble and think it may need to be extracted, come into the office for a consultation with our dental experts. Call us or book online with us today.

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