Restoring Your Oral Health With a Tooth Extraction
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fact that you don’t want a tooth extraction. After all, who does? When the procedure is necessary, however, you may be surprised by how many benefits it can bring. A tooth extraction can transform your oral health and daily life by removing sources of infection and pain. Whether you’ve been dealing with it for a few days or months, tooth pain can get in the way of simple tasks like eating, speaking, or even simply socializing.
The tooth pain relief that a tooth extraction often brings is just that—a relief. It allows you to get back to your life without planning or navigating around your tooth pain. It can also help you start on the road to a great-looking smile.
If your dentist has recommended a tooth extraction, it’s understandable for you to be a little uncertain. Why do you need a tooth extraction, and what will the process be like? We’ve put together a guide to help you understand these aspects of your treatment, as well as what your next steps should be once you’ve undergone the procedure.
Why would you need a tooth extraction?
You’ve likely heard that it’s always best to keep your natural teeth whenever possible. This is true, and there is a wide range of procedures designed to save even severely damaged teeth. Despite this, not all teeth can be saved – sometimes there is just too much damage, and the best thing for your short- and long-term oral health is to get a tooth extraction. Your dentist wants what’s best for your oral health, so if they’re recommending this procedure, it’s likely the best option for you. Here are the main reasons a tooth extraction can become necessary.
1. Severe Injury
Dental injuries like broken or cracked teeth can often be repaired with dental bonding or by placing a dental crown over the tooth to restore and protect it. Dental crowns require a certain amount of remaining natural tooth structure to sit on top of, however, so placing a crown isn’t possible if too much of your tooth has broken off.
In this case, the only remaining option is to remove the tooth. A tooth extraction may also be the only option if your tooth has suffered a crack that reaches beneath the gum line or has split the tooth itself in half.
2. Major Cavity
When a tooth cavity is too severe to be treated using a root canal and dental crown, the tooth needs to be removed. This is particularly true if it has developed an abscess or infection – and if it hasn’t already, developing issues like this is a very real risk if the decayed tooth is left untreated. As a result, extracting it is the best way to restore your oral health and protect it in the long term.
This may leave you wondering, “What does a cavity look like?” so that you can keep an eye out for signs of cavities at home. A small cavity can be a whitish spot on your tooth, while more serious cavities show up as a discolored black or brown spot. That said, you might not notice anything strange about your tooth until the cavity is advanced and causes pain, so it’s important to visit your dentist every six months for regular evaluations before it gets to that point.
Severe gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is when bacteria make their way beneath your gum line and begin attacking the roots and supporting structures of your teeth. When it’s left untreated for an extended period, the resulting damage from periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. When there’s already too much damage to your tooth from periodontitis, it may need to be extracted to restore your oral health.
Human jaws have shrunk over time, but the number of teeth we develop hasn’t changed. As a result, some people don’t have enough space in their jaws for all their teeth, especially when it comes to wisdom teeth. Overcrowding can contribute to issues like jaw pain, malocclusions, impacted teeth, dental injuries, or teeth that grow in crooked or overlapping.
Removing a wisdom tooth that there isn’t room for in your mouth can prevent future oral health issues. Similarly, other teeth may be extracted to create more room in your mouth as a precursor to orthodontic treatment.
An impacted tooth is a tooth that can’t erupt properly, often because there isn’t space for it in your jaw. This can lead the tooth to either erupt only partially or be entirely stuck underneath the gum line, sometimes at an odd angle. It’s a particularly common issue for wisdom teeth.
Impacted teeth can cause a lot of jaw and tooth pain, but they can also put pressure on nearby teeth, potentially causing dental injuries. They can also cause cavities, gum disease, or infection, so it’s important to address impacted teeth by extracting them before they cause problems.
What’s the procedure like?
Generally, tooth extractions are simpler than you might think. Most people undergo the procedure with just a localized anesthetic, which makes it completely painless. If you have a more complex tooth extraction or if you suffer from severe dental anxiety, you can discuss other anesthetic or anxiety management options with Dr. Robinson before your procedure. When the tooth is visible above your gum line, removing it is as simple as waiting for the area to be completely numb before loosening the tooth in its socket, usually using careful rocking motions, and pulling it free.
If you have a severely broken or impacted tooth that’s underneath your gum line, you’ll need a surgical tooth extraction, which is a little more involved. Dr. Robinson will need to make an incision in your gum line to expose the tooth, after which he’ll free it from the socket and sew your gums back up. These stitches are usually dissolvable, so you won’t need to return to have them taken out.
When do you need to replace missing teeth and why is it so important?
After you get a tooth extraction, the next step is usually deciding how you’re going to replace your missing tooth. The big exceptions to this rule are wisdom teeth and teeth that were removed due to overcrowding. Otherwise, however, it’s incredibly important for your long-term oral health to replace your missing tooth. Your teeth carry out vital jobs, from playing a role in your self-confidence and helping you chew properly to keeping your jawbone healthy. When you lose a tooth, several issues can arise as a result, including:
- Decreased self-confidence
- Teeth shifting into the new gap
- Increased risk of cavities and gum disease
- Difficulty chewing
- Jaw pain or TMD
- Jawbone shrinkage over time from bone resorption
Replacing your missing tooth prevents many of these issues. It erases the gap in your smile, keeping your remaining teeth in their natural positions. This preserves your jaw alignment, protects you from TMJ pain, and ensures that biting into and chewing food is just as easy as it was before you lost a tooth. Dental implants replace even the root of your missing tooth, giving them the unique ability to protect against bone loss in your jaw. Additionally, tooth replacement options are highly customizable, allowing you to restore your confidence in your naturally beautiful smile
How can you replace your missing tooth?
If you had one or more teeth removed due to overcrowding, orthodontic treatment is likely the next step. This shifts your teeth over time, straightening them as well as making them properly and evenly spaced. You can also replace your missing tooth by filling the gap it left behind. There are several tooth replacement options for you to choose from, ensuring that you’re able to choose a treatment that fits your needs, wants, and budget. The main options to replace one or two teeth are a dental bridge or a dental implant.
A bridge has one or two prosthetic teeth, called pontics, that are supported by two dental crowns placed on the teeth at either end of the gap in your smile. A dental implant consists of a titanium metal rod that’s embedded in your jawbone to serve as a new tooth root. This rod is then secured with a crown to restore the function and appearance of your missing tooth.
If you need to replace more than one tooth, a bridge, partial dentures, or full dentures can be secured with multiple implants. You can also use traditional partial or full dentures to replace multiple missing teeth or a full arch. Each tooth replacement option has its strengths and weaknesses, but you don’t have to learn to navigate these differences alone! You can work with Dr. Robinson to determine which treatment is best for you.
You can get toothache relief today!
A tooth extraction can protect your oral health and provide major toothache relief – in fact, many people find that recovering from their extraction is less painful than the time they spent waiting for it! As important as tooth extractions can be for your oral health, however, it’s equally important to have a plan to replace your missing tooth, protecting you from the long-term consequences of tooth loss. If you’d like to learn more about tooth extractions or tooth replacement options from the best dentist near Wasilla, AK, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Robinson at any time.