Tooth extraction isn’t the first option dentists or oral surgeons consider — it’s the last.
Both dentists and surgeons are fully aware that it’s in your best interests to keep your natural teeth. It’s better for appearances and it’s also better for your health. But in the four scenarios we list below, your oral health professional might recommend tooth extraction.
1. It’s Damaged Beyond Repair
Is your tooth severely decayed? Cavities that progress unchecked can often cause irreparable damage. Fillings can be an option, but if a filling is too big, it can cause the tooth to break.
Likewise, tooth damage from an accident can cause issues. A broken tooth leaves your body susceptible to infection, so if a filling can’t fix it, it’s time for a tooth extraction.
2. It Doesn’t Fit in Your Mouth
It’s not often we recommend a tooth extraction for orthodontic purposes, but sometimes you just have too many teeth — your mouth isn’t big enough for all of them. Also, sometimes people are born with extra teeth. If you’re preparing for dentures or braces, you may need to get these teeth removed in order for orthodontic treatment to be effective.
3. You Have Advanced Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious oral health issue. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, half of American adults suffer from gum disease.
While mild versions of the condition are easily treatable, when left unchecked, gum disease will eventually cause tooth loss. Gum recession leads to teeth loosening in their sockets. While every effort is made to secure the tooth once periodontal disease is identified and treated, irreversible damage usually results in the need for tooth extraction.
4. It’s Impacted
An impacted tooth is one that can’t break through the gums. It’s usually stuck partially above and partially below the gumline. It can cause pain and swelling, and you can develop an abscess. Impacted teeth should be removed as soon as possible in order to limit the damage to the surrounding teeth.
Post-Procedure Care for a Swift Recovery
Tooth extraction can range from a straightforward to a complex procedure — it depends on the cause and the individual patient. An infected impacted tooth will be more difficult to remove than a tooth that grew in normally, but has to be removed for orthodontic treatment.
If you are having a tooth removed:
- Drink plenty of fluids after the extraction site stops bleeding.
- Eat soft foods for one to two days following the procedure.
- Don’t brush the surgical site during the healing process — rinse with salt water.
- Call your oral surgeon or dentist right away if it doesn’t stop bleeding, or starts bleeding during the healing process.
You can depend on Richmond Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for comprehensive care throughout your tooth extraction procedure. We care about your oral health.