A dentist’s job is to preserve oral health and prevent tooth loss, but sometimes a tooth is simply beyond saving. Dentists consider tooth extraction to be a last resort, but sometimes it is the only way to prevent further oral injuries and infections. If your dentist is recommending that you have a tooth removed, you can be certain that they are putting your smile’s best interests first. Here are a few reasons why your oral health provider might perform a tooth extraction.
You Don’t Have Enough Room in Your Mouth
The third molars, or wisdom teeth, typically begin emerging in the late teens or early twenties. Unfortunately, people often do not have enough room in their mouths to accommodate these new teeth, causing them to come in sideways or fail to emerge at all. Teeth that are misaligned or fail to emerge properly from the gum are more vulnerable to injury or infection. Even if they come in straight, they can force neighboring teeth out of alignment, making them easier to injure and possibly undoing years of orthodontic work. Wisdom teeth are typically extracted for these reasons.
The Tooth Has an Advanced Infection
If a dental infection is caught before it forms a cavity, it can be treated and reversed. If a cavity has already formed, it can receive a filling. If tooth decay is too advanced to be treated with a filling, it can be treated with a root canal and a dental crown. However, there comes a point where a tooth is too decayed to be restored, and allowing it to remain in its place can spread its infection to other teeth or even lead to dangerous secondary infections like sepsis or pneumonia. In these cases, it’s best to remove and replace the afflicted tooth.
The Tooth Has Been Structurally Compromised Beyond Repair
The world is full of physical hazards to your dental health. Tripping, falling, and playing contact sports can all lead to oral trauma if you’re not careful, and sometimes the resulting damage is so extensive that a tooth cannot be saved. If the pulp of the tooth becomes exposed, it becomes vulnerable to nasty infections. In these cases, extraction is probably appropriate.
While people understandably want to avoid tooth extractions whenever possible, there are times when they are necessary. If your dentist has recommended tooth extraction, you can rest assured that they have good reason and are prepared to provide you with the care you need to stay healthy.
About the Author
Dr. Jeff Lee earned his dental degree from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry before completing a four-year residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He is a part-time faculty member in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department at his alma mater. His office in Marietta, OH offers dental implants and tooth extraction services. For more information on why tooth extraction can be necessary, contact the office online or dial (740) 432-8768.