A chipped, cracked or decayed tooth can often lead to thoughts of drills, needles and other harsh dental equipment, but depending on the source of the issue, tooth extraction is not always needed. The primary goal of most dental professionals is to help patients retain their natural teeth for as long as possible and many will rely on extraction procedures only when all other options have been exhausted.
In certain cases of severe tooth damage, tooth extraction may seem like the fastest and most effective way to treat the problem, but it is not always the preferred solution. Edentulism is the condition of missing one or more teeth or being completely toothless, and there are quite a few reasons why it is not always the best option.
Your dental professional is well aware of the dangers of missing teeth over long periods of time. First off, when a tooth (or teeth) is missing, the amount of chewing surface is decreased, allowing under-chewed food to be swallowed, possibly causing digestive issues. Additionally, when teeth are missing the supporting jaw bone and tissue no longer have a job to do and degeneration begins to take place. This can lead to accelerated bone loss or additional tooth loss, and it can prohibit future replacement procedures such as dental implant surgery.
Aesthetics play an important role in the decision making as well when it comes to whether to extract a tooth. Once a tooth is lost, there is no longer a support system for your lips and cheeks, leaving a depression or deflated look which can make you appear older than your years.
Of course, the aforementioned side effects of tooth loss can become a real problem, but replacing teeth within a short period of time after loss will alleviate most of the concerns mentioned. Dental implants, bridges and other tooth replacement options can help retain the health of the supporting bone by allowing the pressure and force of chewing to continue to regenerate healthy bone and tissue.
This being said, tooth extraction still plays an important role in the maintenance of both oral and overall health. A tooth that has been greatly damaged by tooth decay or trauma may not be able to be restored and removal may be the best or only option. When decay and infection extend to the pulp (center portion) of the tooth, and root canal therapy and antibiotics have not been effective, removal may be needed to prevent the spread of infection.
Sometimes a dentist will pull a tooth to prime a patient’s mouth for orthodontic procedures. For teeth to be properly aligned, there needs to be enough space to adequately fit the size and quantity of teeth a patient may have. If teeth are too large or a patient has too many to comfortably be aligned within the available space, one or more teeth may need to be extracted. Or, if a tooth is impacted and will not properly break through the gum line, which is often seen in cases of wisdom teeth, tooth extraction has been found to be the most viable treatment option.
For more information about tooth extraction procedures, contact Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.