Tooth extractions are dental procedures that remove, or extract, teeth that have become problematic to a patient’s oral or overall health. There are two different extraction methods that can be used, depending on the tooth being extracted. Namely, these are simple and surgical extractions.
Simple extractions are used on visible teeth that have erupted over the gum line. For a simple extraction, a special tool is used to rock and elevate the tooth. Then the tooth is removed with forceps. Surgical extractions are used for teeth that are impacted, or below the gum line. Surgical extractions require a gum incision. They also require that the affected tooth be broken up before it is removed. This is to minimize the trauma exerted on the surrounding structures.
Although your dentist is primarily concerned with preserving your natural teeth, there are some cases where extraction is a better option. While no one is excited to have a tooth extraction, painful symptoms are usually relieved by the extraction. Here are three cases where tooth extractions may be necessary:
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
This is probably one of the most common cases that warrants a tooth extraction. Impacted wisdom teeth can be partially erupted or completely stuck under the gum line. Often times, impacted wisdom teeth are facing the incorrect direction for proper eruption. This means that they will exert pressure on the surrounding teeth, gums, and bone. Impacted wisdom teeth can also cause pain, swelling, and infection. For these reasons, impacted wisdom teeth are almost always extracted. For more information on impacted wisdom teeth see, “3 Types of Wisdom Teeth Impaction”.
Overcrowding most often occurs as a result of your mouth simply being too small for the amount of teeth you have. However, it can also happen when primary teeth are lost too early or if the teeth grow irregularly. Erupted wisdom teeth can also cause overcrowding. Overcrowding often results in misalignment because there is not enough room for teeth to be properly aligned. For this reason, a few teeth may be extracted to make space for the remaining teeth. This is common for those with overcrowding who are starting orthodontic treatment.
Severe Tooth Decay
When tooth decay is severe enough to reach the innermost layer of the tooth, this is called pulpitis. Once tooth decay has reached this layer, the dental pulp and tooth roots become infected. If this infection is not treated, it can cause an abscess to form at the base of the tooth roots. At this point, if there is a risk of the infection spreading to the surrounding teeth, then the tooth is often extracted. However, more mild cases of pulpitis can simply be treated with a root canal.
These three reasons for tooth extractions prove that tooth extractions are sometimes necessary to maintain or restore your oral health. With these three cases, extraction is often the only treatment option available. Although no one wants a tooth extraction, ultimately putting it off may only make the problem worse.
Dr. Chris Vinson and Dr. Kristie Vinson attended the College of Dentistry at The University of Oklahoma. Dr. Chris Vinson has earned a fellowship from the Misch International Implant Institute and a fellowship in International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is also certified to administer Oral and IV sedation to his patients through The Montefiore College of Medicine in New York and is Teeth-Express and Invisalign certified. Dr. Kristie Vinson is trained in sedation dentistry, Botox, and dermal fillers. She received a Fellowship from the Misch International Implant Institute and the Fellowship in International Congress of Oral Implantology. She is also Teeth-Express and Invisalign Certified.