Tooth extraction concept with an array of stainless steel dental tools and a mask with the extracted tooth clasped in the pincers and reflected in the mirror

When is Tooth Extraction Necessary

Your permanent teeth are strong and tough, designed to last for your lifetime. However, in some cases, a tooth extraction may be necessary. Whenever possible, it’s always a great idea to save the permanent tooth. However, there are several cases when tooth repair may not work. Here’s a closer look at some of the reason you may need a tooth extraction.

Damage from Trauma or Decay

While minor tooth decay can often be repaired with a filling or other dental treatment, if the damage from tooth decay is too significant, then the only choice may be to pull the tooth. If a trauma has occurred to the tooth that has caused significant damage, then extraction may be the best option.

Infection of the Tooth Pulp

When tooth damage or decay extends all the way to the pulp of the tooth, which is the center that contains blood vessels and nerves, oral bacteria can get inside the pulp and cause an infection. In some cases, root canal therapy may be able to take care of this problem. However, of a root canal and antibiotics don’t take care of the problem, the tooth may need to be extracted to keep the infection from spreading.

Tooth Crowding

In some cases, teeth may be so crowded that teeth may not properly align. Overcrowding can cause bite issues, jaw pain, and many other oral problems. It’s often more difficult to brush and floss teeth when overcrowding occurs. If the mouth is too crowded, pulling a tooth may be the right option, particularly if you’re preparing for orthodontia.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is an infection of the bones and tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. Sometimes gum disease can result in loosening of the teeth. With treatment, sometimes this gets better. However, a tooth or several teeth may need to be pulled in severe cases of gum disease.

Impacted Tooth

Sometimes a tooth becomes impacted into the gum and it’s unable to erupt because there’s not enough room in the mouth. This is fairly common in the case of wisdom teeth. Leaving an impacted tooth may result in infections, overcrowding, and ultimately damage to the surrounding teeth. The impacted tooth may need to be removed to prevent these problems.

Risk of Infection

For some people, other health issues like cancer requiring chemotherapy or organ transplantation result in a compromised immune system. For these patients, an infection can be very dangerous. In these cases, just the risk of infection in a tooth may be a good enough reason to move forward with an extraction to prevent a dangerous infection.

Tooth Extraction – What to Expect

If you do need a tooth extracted, you may be wondering what to expect. Dentists and oral surgeons can both take care of extractions. Before the tooth is extracted, you’ll be given a small injection of local anesthetic so the area is well numbed before they begin to extract the tooth. If you have an impacted tooth or you’re having multiple teeth pulled at one time, then general anesthetic may be given to you to ensure you’re asleep during the procedure, preventing you from feeling pain during the extraction.

For impacted teeth, the gum and bone tissue are cut away and then the tooth is grasped with forceps, gently moving it back and forth to get it loose from the ligaments and jaw bone holding it in place. In some cases, a tooth that is hard to remove may have to be taken out in pieces.

After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot generally will form in the tooth socket. Gauze is packed into the socket and you can bite down on it to stop the bleeding. In some cases, a few stitches may be needed to close the extraction site.

After Tooth Extraction

You’ll be sent home after a tooth extraction to recover, although recovery is fairly quick. You’ll be instructed to limit your activity for a day or two, and you’ll need to avoid drinking from a straw or rinsing and spitting forcefully for the next couple of days. Smokers should avoid smoking since smoking can delay healing of the area. While pain is normal, if you have severe pain or bleeding, signs of infection, excessive discharge, or nausea after extraction, it’s important to call your Vero Beach Periodontist.