Your teeth perform some different essential tasks every day, from biting and chewing, to controlling airflow for speech, to providing you with a beautiful, confident smile. The teeth also play an integral role in the health of your jawbone. While the teeth are exceptionally strong, the hardest substance in the body, in fact, they can still be damaged. When damage occurs, the ideal solution is to restore the teeth while keeping them in place. However, if the damage is too severe, leaving these teeth in your mouth can put your oral health at even greater risk. In cases like these, we can help with tooth extractions.
Do I Need a Tooth Extraction?
If your teeth are damaged, treatment is required as soon as possible. Severe damage, when it goes untreated, can leave you susceptible further damage and painful tooth infections. In many cases, damaged teeth can be treated and restored, while still enabling them to stay in place. However, if the damage is too severe, saving those teeth may not be possible.
When you come in with damaged teeth, the first thing we do is perform a thorough oral exam. We visually examine your teeth and gums, checking for the extent of the damage and looking for signs of infections. We also take X-rays, which will allow us to see if there is any damage that has occurred to the teeth below the gum line, as well as if there is any other damage. With a complete picture as to the extent of the damage, we can then take a look at possible restorations. If it is determined that no restorative treatment will effectively restore your teeth, we will then recommend you for an extraction.
Reasons for extraction include:
- Cracks that start in the crown and travel below the gum line. Crowns cannot provide effective treatment for this damage. They are also ineffective for damage that occurs to the teeth solely below the gums.
- Shattered teeth. If a tooth has shattered, it is not strong enough to support a crown.
- Extreme tooth decay. The longer tooth decay goes untreated, the weaker the affected tooth becomes. It can also cause some rather large cavities. Placing fillings in large cavities put the tooth at risk for shattering. The tooth may also be too weak to support a crown.
- Advanced gum disease. In advanced stages of gum disease, the bacteria that has traveled below the gum line are attacking the periodontal ligaments and the jawbone, and both of these supporting structures grow weak. As a result, the teeth become loose and are at risk of falling out.
- Impacted teeth. Common with wisdom teeth, impacted teeth, and the impacted tooth is one that cannot properly erupt. These teeth can potentially damage to neighboring teeth.
A simple extraction is a straightforward procedure that is done under local anesthetic. The affected tooth is gripped with forceps and moved back and forth gently but firmly. This movement widens the periodontal ligament that holds the tooth in place. When the ligament is widened enough, the tooth is then lifted out.
A surgical extraction is done in a more complex situation, such as a broken, shattered, or impacted tooth. This procedure is done under a local anesthetic and sedation. Incisions are made in the gums to expose the root of the tooth and the surrounding jawbone. We then remove the tooth, making sure that the entire tooth is removed. After the surgical site is cleaned, the gums are sutured closed. Once extractions, whether simple or surgical, are completed, we can then discuss your options for tooth replacement.
While saving your damaged teeth is always the preferred method, this is not always possible. When your teeth cannot be saved, it is best to have them extracted and then replaced. For more information, call us at (480) 545-8700.