Do I Really Need A Tooth Extraction?
“I don’t want a tooth extraction!” – a sentence us dentists hear all the time. Many patients are apprehensive about having a tooth extraction – and for good reason! If we take a tooth out we usually need to figure out a way to fill the space so you can look good, chew well, and have comfortable teeth. Replacing a tooth after a tooth extraction can be tricky – so it is usually a big priority to hold onto natural teeth.
Believe it (or not) dentist’s spend most of their careers trying to NOT take out teeth – I spend alot of time trying to fix broken teeth to keep them in the mouth. We avoid tooth extraction wherever possible – nothing beats natural!
But when a tooth is broken or sore, we first might try to fix it with a restoration (filling) or crown. Even if the nerve has died or an abscess had formed – there are treatments possible that might save the tooth!
Unfortunately – sometimes a tooth is SO broken down that we run out of options to save your tooth – meaning you need the dreaded tooth extraction.
Reasons For Tooth Extraction
- A tooth that is too damaged to be restored
- A tooth that cannot be saved with a root canal procedure
- When a person has ‘extra’ teeth – (more than the 32 we would expect in an adult)
- Before or during braces at the request of the treating orthodontist (braces specialist). This can help with crowding – and some orthodontists practice this routinely. Be sure to discuss all aspects of your braces treatment before you start!
- Teeth gum disease with lots of bone loss. These teeth are often very wobbly.
- Teeth that have begun to harm adjacent teeth
- When there has been trauma to the teeth (avoid by wearing a sports mouthguard when playing contact sport!)
- Wisdom teeth (third molars) often need tooth extraction when they become impacted instead of erupting – creating risk of infection
- Before serious cancer treatments like radiation therapy, some surgeries, and some chemotherapy.
- If baby teeth do not fall out, sometimes even little baby teeth need tooth extraction
There are many circumstances that can lead to tooth extraction – for your situation make sure you understand what has led to the extraction being necessary. Try to work towards avoiding having to extract more teeth in the future.
If you do need a tooth extraction – don’t delay! – as this can lead to infection, pain, or even a dental abscess.