While dentists will often do everything possible to save a tooth no matter the age of the patient, there are some situations where tooth extraction is necessary. When it comes to removing teeth, there are two different types of extractions a dentist or oral surgeon can use depending on the reason for removal: Simple extraction and surgical extraction.
A simple extraction can be used when the tooth is already fully emerged past the gum line and can be easily removed using forceps. A surgical extraction involves cutting into the gums to retrieve a tooth, usually because it is impacted. Here are some common reasons a patient might need to have either a simple or surgical extraction performed.
Reasons for a simple tooth extraction
A dentist might suggest pulling a patient’s tooth because of infection or overcrowding in the mouth. Continue reading to learn more about each of these reasons for a tooth extraction.
Tooth decay or gum disease
Fillings or root canal treatment can often treat minor cases of tooth decay, but severe deterioration can warrant the need for extraction. This situation often occurs if the patient has not had a dental exam in a while and the decay has gone untreated for a long period of time. Eventually, the decay can extend to the pulp of the tooth leading to an infection.
If the infection is too severe to be treated by root canal therapy, the extraction of the tooth is necessary to keep the infection from spreading. Gum disease is another type of infection that causes the degeneration of the bones and tissues surrounding a tooth. If not addressed early on, these structures can deteriorate to the point that the tooth either falls out or needs to be pulled.
If teeth are severely misaligned or overcrowded, it might be necessary to pull teeth to open up space in the mouth or to make an opening for an impacted tooth. Most often, the removal of the tooth or teeth is combined with orthodontic treatment. Braces are used after the tooth is removed to further expand the jawbone and balance the bite.
Impacted teeth and surgical extraction
An impacted tooth is one that has been blocked from emerging from the gums and is often discovered during a dental X-ray. Some impacted teeth will eventually break through the gums without treatment; also, removing baby teeth or orthodontic treatment can sometimes allow the teeth to come in properly. Other times, tooth extraction is necessary if the teeth are unable to erupt through the gums on their own. Often, surgical extraction is used on wisdom teeth or maxillary canines that cannot be guided to the correct position.
Typically, a dentist will do everything possible to preserve a tooth if possible before choosing to extract it. However, if the patient is suffering due to an infection of the tooth or gums it might be necessary to quickly remove the tooth to avoid even more harm from occurring. If teeth are overcrowded or impacted, a treatment plan can be made to determine if a tooth extraction is the best line of action.
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