Why You May Need a Tooth Extraction: What You Need to Know

Why You May Need a Tooth Extraction: What You Need to Know

A person can lose a tooth for many reasons. Although staying on top of your oral hygiene and visiting your dentist at least every six months will help you guard against this, it’s still possible to lose a tooth through no fault of your own.

There are also instances when dentists recommend extracting teeth. When this happens, an oral surgeon can provide a substitute in the form of a dental implant. This is a false tooth designed to look and function exactly like a natural one. Unlike dentures, a dental implant is actually rooted to your jawbone. With a dental implant, you can maintain both your smile and your overall oral health.

The following are some reasons a tooth extraction may be necessary. While no one ever wants to have a tooth removed, if your dentist recommends an extraction, it’s best to listen to his or her advice. You can coordinate with an oral surgeon in the meantime to discuss replacing it after the extraction.

Severe Decay

As you know, it’s important to brush and floss every day, and to see your dentist on a regular basis. Doing so is key to preventing dental decay.

toothache

When you eat, bits of food are left behind on and between your teeth. If it isn’t cleared away, it attracts bacteria, which begin eating away at your dental tissue. (Note that there are over 300 different types of bacteria residing in your mouth, according to research from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry.) If the bacteria aren’t removed, the plaque that forms on your teeth can harden into tartar, which can comprise the health of your gums.  

Brushing, flossing, and receiving regular cleanings limit the odds of this happening. Unfortunately, if dental decay goes unaddressed for a long period of time, bacteria can infect the pulp of the tooth.

Sometimes a root canal procedure is sufficient to address this problem. When it’s not, however, a dentist may need to extract the tooth in order to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your teeth and gums.

Accidents

Accidents can significantly damage teeth. If possible, dental professionals will do what they can to preserve all your teeth following an accident. 

However, there are cases when the damage is simply too great, and one or more teeth must be removed. 

Obviously, no one wants to lose a tooth. However, it’s often the best solution in the long run. By having damaged teeth removed, you can replace them with implants, which will look and function much better.

Overcrowding

It’s worth noting that sometimes teeth don’t need to be replaced with implants after being removed. This may happen when the reason for the extraction is cosmetic.

In some cases, a patient’s mouth may be overcrowded. The overcrowding can make it difficult to perform certain orthodontic procedures, and it can have a negative impact on the person’s smile and facial appearance.

Removing a tooth helps to address the overcrowding. Once the tooth is removed, the patient’s facial features typically appear more balanced. Additionally, a dentist or oral surgeon may recommend extracting a tooth if it is impacted. This occurs when the tooth does not erupt in a safe position, due to lack of space in the mouth.

What You Can Do to Avoid Problems

Remember, seeing your dentist on a regular basis is important. Regular brushing and flossing are absolutely necessary for ensuring your oral health, but even so, your dentist can provide a number of services you just can’t replicate at home. 

First of all, a dentist uses special tools, instruments, and techniques to clean areas of your mouth you can’t reach on your own. This helps limit your risk of dental decay or gum disease. In fact, gum disease is another reason dentists sometimes recommend tooth extractions. When bacteria eat away at the gums, they can start to recede, resulting in a loose tooth. An extraction is necessary to avoid further complications. Unfortunately, if gum disease is substantial, it can affect whether a patient is a viable candidate for a dental implant. Their gum tissue may simply not be strong enough to support one. An oral surgeon might suggest other teeth replacement options if this is the case.

Seeing a dentist regularly also gives an experienced professional the opportunity to assess your overall oral health and determine if an extraction (or any other treatment) is needed to maintain it. Depending on the nature of your condition, scheduling a recommended extraction sooner rather than later is key to avoiding future problems.

Other steps you can take on your own include not only practicing good oral hygiene, but making sure you’re protecting your teeth from damage in situations where they may be vulnerable. For example, if you play a sport, particularly one that involves contact, wear a mouthguard. Doing so can be the difference between keeping all your teeth or losing one (or more).

Remember, if you do need a tooth extraction, you can still restore your smile with the help of an oral surgeon. They’ll assess your condition and determine if you’re a good candidate for a dental implant. While the treatment process does typically take a few months, the long-term result is a false tooth that looks, feels, and functions just like the real thing.