Tooth Extraction Q & A
When is a tooth extraction necessary?
Dentists do all they can to help patients keep their natural teeth, but sometimes having a tooth pulled is the best option to preserve good oral health. Extractions may be recommended when a tooth is very badly damaged and a crown, root canal therapy or other treatment is not sufficient to save the tooth. Other times, tooth extractions may be used to remove a tooth that’s become impacted or “stuck” under neighboring teeth, or a tooth that’s been broken off below the gum line.
How are tooth extractions performed?
That depends on how badly the tooth is damaged, its location and other factors. Some teeth can be pulled with simple extraction procedures using gripping instrument to firmly grasp the tooth and remove it. Other more complex tooth extractions may need incisions to access the entire tooth below the gum line. These extractions may be performed using sedation in addition to local anesthetics to ensure patients remain comfortable.
Do wisdom teeth always need to be pulled?
Wisdom teeth that are impacted or are coming in sideways and pressing against neighboring teeth need to be extracted to prevent damage to those other teeth and to prevent symptoms of pain. But even when wisdom teeth come in straight, extracting them is still often a good idea. Located far back in the jaw, wisdom teeth are very difficult to keep clean, and that means they’re far more likely to become decayed or to become harbors for gum disease-causing bacteria. As a result, leaving them in place can threaten the health of other teeth and removing them can prevent damage from occurring.
If a tooth is missing, does it need to be replaced even if it’s not visible?
Yes. Teeth are designed to mesh together in a specific way. When a tooth is missing, it disrupts this bite balance and can place additional strain on the jaw joints, resulting in chronic jaw pain and headaches. Plus, when a tooth is missing, it can cause a “domino” effect, loosening neighboring tooth roots and eventually causing additional tooth loss.