Your teeth are an essential feature of your mouth. They enable you to bite and chew your food. They control the flow of air when you speak, enabling you to make specific sounds and form specific words. Your teeth provide you with a full, beautiful, confident smile. They also help to keep your jawbone strong and healthy. Because your teeth are so important, we at Crossroads Family Dental do everything we can to save your teeth. Sometimes, however, the tooth cannot be saved. In the event a tooth cannot be saved, it will need to be extracted. This Restorative Dental procedure will set your mouth up for better health.
Why might I need an extraction?
When a tooth is damaged, we typically try to do everything we can to save it, keeping the natural tooth within its socket. However, there are some instances when this is not possible. Extractions are often reserved for when there are no other options left. Common reasons for extractions include:
• Your teeth have been seriously damaged. Usually, cracked or chipped teeth can be restored with dental crowns or same-day crowns. However, if the damage extends below the gum line (below where the base of the crown reaches) this solution becomes ineffective. This is because bacteria can still sneak inside the tooth under the gum line. A shattered tooth is also beyond the assistance of a dental crown.
• Your tooth has experienced significant decay. Cavities are typically restored with fillings. If you have an exceptionally large cavity or multiple cavities on the same tooth, fillings only compromise the tooth, putting it at risk for shattering. A severely decayed tooth will also not be able to support a crown.
• Tooth impaction. An impacted tooth is one that cannot emerge properly through the gums. It is common with wisdom teeth, although any tooth can be impacted. Impacted teeth can cause serious pain and can damage adjacent teeth.
• Overcrowding. Overcrowding can cause a significant number of issues, including bruxism, uneven tooth wear and more. Orthodontics is typically used to correct overcrowding, but teeth sometimes need to be extracted to create space.
• You have a compromised immune system. If your immune system is compromised, a tooth at risk for infection will be extracted as a preventative measure.
What happens if a tooth isn’t extracted?
Not extracting a damaged or otherwise compromised tooth can have serious consequences on your oral health and your overall health. Severely damaged teeth can be faced with infection. Impacted teeth can damage adjacent teeth, putting them at risk for infection. Bacteria that are trapped within the interior of your tooth attack the pulp. They can also enter your bloodstream and spread throughout the rest of the body, leading to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. You may experience serious pain due to abscesses or cysts. In short, your oral health, your overall health, and your quality of life are greatly affected.
There are two types of extractions—simple and surgical. A simple extraction is one that involves gripping the affected tooth, wiggling it back and forth to widen the periodontal ligament, and lifting the tooth out. This is usually done under a local anesthetic. A surgical extraction is more involved. It can be done under a local anesthetic, although sedation may also be used. Incisions are made in the gums, and the tooth is removed. Bone may need to be removed, or the tooth may need to be broken (if it is not already) and removed piece by piece. When your extraction is over, the area is cleaned, and the gums sutured closed.
Damaged teeth need to be treated as soon as possible. If we cannot save your damaged tooth, an extraction becomes necessary. For more information, or to schedule your appointment, contact Crossroads Family Dental today at 219-865-4095, and we’ll do everything we can to make you as comfortable as possible.