While the goal of all dentistry is saving and protecting natural teeth, sometimes there is no choice but to extract or remove a tooth. There are many reasons in which a tooth extraction may be recommended, including very advanced decay, an impacted wisdom tooth, or overcrowding. The good news is tooth extractions are generally routine and nothing to be afraid of.
Tooth Extraction Procedure
Tooth extractions are usually straightforward and don't take very long at all. When done by an experienced dentist, an extraction is an easy, painless procedure with a short recovery. This is because your teeth are not firmly fixed into the surrounding bone. Instead, teeth are attached to the jaw bone with a network of ligaments. When the tooth is carefully and expertly manipulated, the fibers will be detached and the tooth will be freed.
Before beginning, your dentist will take an x-ray to visualize the structure of your teeth and jaw and plan the best strategy for removal. Simple extractions, which are performed on teeth that are visible, involves loosening your teeth with a special instrument called an elevator. Forceps will then be used to remove your tooth. Surgical extractions are more complicated and may be necessary if the tooth has broken at the gum line or it has not erupted. This will require a small incision in the gum. Sometimes the tooth must be cut or some of the bone surrounding the teeth must be removed to successfully extract the tooth.
Common Reasons for Tooth Extraction
Your dentist may recommend an extraction for many reasons:
- Impacted wisdom tooth. If your wisdom teeth do not have enough room to erupt, they can become trapped in the gums. This will leave some of the tooth trapped in the jaw. It can also happen if the wisdom teeth simply come in sideways or tilted. Sometimes impacted wisdom teeth cause no problems but this problem can be serious. It may cause pain during chewing, biting, and opening your mouth. It may also lead to swelling and infection.
- Pericoronitis. This refers to inflammation of the gum around the tooth when the tooth does not fully erupt. It can also occur when a wisdom tooth is partially erupted, leaving a flap of tissue that becomes painfully inflamed and traps food and bacteria.
- Overcrowding. If your wisdom teeth do not have enough room to erupt, they can push adjacent teeth out of alignment. This can affect how your teeth fit together.
- Significant decay. When caught early, tooth decay can be treated in a variety of ways, including fillings, bonding, and crowns. If the decay becomes too advanced, it may be necessary to pull the tooth.
- Damage to the tooth. If your tooth is too damaged to save, such as a significant crack, extraction may be the only option.
- Orthodontic treatment. Some people who get braces require tooth extraction to make room for the teeth to move.
- Baby teeth that did not fall out. If the permanent teeth start to come in before the baby teeth have fallen out, extracting the baby teeth may be recommended to help the adult teeth erupt properly.
If you believe your tooth may need to be extracted, you can count on Dr. Paul Lanzisera for compassionate and gentle care. Schedule a consultation with Lanzisera Smiles at Colorado Springs, CO to discuss a potential extraction.