Tooth extraction is a type of oral surgery that involves the removal of a tooth. While preserving your natural teeth is always preferable, tooth extraction may be recommended when repair and maintenance of a damaged tooth aren’t possible.
While it can be disturbing to consider purposefully removing a tooth, doing so can often protect the health of your remaining teeth, gums, and the entire mouth. The good news is that using dental anesthesia and appropriate aftercare can make your experience painless and free of complications.
A recommendation for tooth extraction is only advised when other treatment options aren’t available. Our dentists at Rifkin Dental in Yorktown Heights and Carmel, New York, have the experience and expertise necessary to determine when an extraction is required to protect your oral health.
While you may feel anxious about the prospect of having a tooth removed, the team at Rifkin Dental recommends tooth extraction after a thorough oral evaluation and review of dental X-rays. You can feel confident that having a tooth removed is in your best interest.
Here are some common conditions that may warrant a recommendation for a tooth extraction.
The most prevalent reason for tooth extraction is tooth decay. Tooth decay is a condition that results when bacteria and food debris collect on the enamel, or outer surface, of your tooth. When this filmy compound remains on your tooth enamel, it develops into an acid that makes holes, or cavities, in your tooth.
When a cavity remains untreated, bacteria can enter the tooth through the hole and damage its dentin, the tissue that lies under the enamel and protects the tooth’s pulp. This can cause toothaches and increased tooth sensitivity.
The bacteria can eventually damage the tooth’s pulp, or center, where blood vessels and nerves reside. It can also affect the tooth’s roots, which are necessary to hold your tooth in place and help it function normally. At this point, tooth extraction may be recommended to avoid spreading the infection to healthy teeth and potentially other areas of your mouth.
When left untreated, periodontal disease, or gum disease, can cause just as much damage as tooth decay. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria-filled plaque on your teeth hardens and forms tartar. The tartar can progress to your gum line, where it can deteriorate the bones, gum tissue, and ligaments that support your teeth.
When these structures are damaged, they become unable to hold your tooth in place. The affected tooth may move when you speak or chew, interfering with normal function. In advanced stages of periodontal disease, an affected tooth may even fall out on its own before it can be extracted.
Impacted teeth are teeth that become stuck in your gums before they erupt through the gum line. While any teeth can become impacted, the condition most often occurs with wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth typically don’t erupt until you’re in your late teens and already have 28 adult teeth in place. This leaves little space for four more to fit along your gum line.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause damage to other teeth as they attempt to erupt into a space where there’s no room. If it does emerge, an impacted tooth can do so at an odd angle that is difficult to keep clean and protect from tooth decay.
While swelling and pain are common symptoms of impacted teeth, tooth extraction can alleviate these symptoms and restore normal function.
A tooth that’s broken by impact or injury can leave you with a tooth fragment. While a dental crown can often repair the remaining portion of a broken tooth, you must have a certain amount of the tooth above the gum line to apply the crown.
When the remaining portion of a damaged tooth isn’t large enough or healthy enough to support a dental crown, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. After extraction, a dental implant can be used to restore normal appearance and function to the empty space.
Your dentist may recommend tooth extraction as part of an orthodontic plan. If you have severe overcrowding, removal of one or more permanent teeth may be necessary to allow the remaining teeth to fit straight along your gum line.
Extracting one or more teeth can help your dentist align your upper and lower teeth to fit together normally so you can achieve your desired results with orthodontic treatment.
Learn more about the ways tooth extraction can help you protect your oral health and normal function. Schedule a consultation by calling our Yorktown Heights or Carmel office today.