A common treatment for teeth in trouble is to pull them out, or extract them. While dentists and oral surgeons do what they can to save those teeth first, extraction is often left as the only option given the circumstances. As dental technology has improved over the years, the reasons behind tooth extractions have changed.
If you have a tooth that needs help beyond what a filling or bonding can do, don’t assume that you’ll have to have the tooth removed. Your dentist needs to look at a host of surrounding circumstances to determine if another option would work. If your dentist does recommend tooth extraction, knowing what could necessitate extraction will help you understand why your dentist has decided this is the only solution.
When You Have an Impacted Tooth
When a tooth is impacted, it’s basically jammed up against another tooth. Sometimes the tooth that needs to be removed is the impacted tooth itself. This is the situation with impacted wisdom teeth that haven’t erupted out of the gums yet. Because these teeth are pushing against an adjacent tooth, they won’t be able to erupt properly. And if they start to erupt anyway, they could damage or move surrounding teeth.
Oral surgery can’t straighten out non-erupted teeth, and unless the surrounding teeth are already crooked and need to be straightened, moving them out of the way with braces won’t work. The remaining option is to remove the impacted tooth.
Other times it’s the surrounding tooth that gets pulled. This is the case when an adult tooth tries to erupt in a child’s mouth before the nearby baby teeth have moved. You want those adult teeth to come in properly, so the dentist will remove the baby teeth.
When Your Tooth Is Damaged Beyond Repair
A dentist may also remove a tooth because it’s so damaged that nothing else can be done. If a tooth’s structure is too weak, any other work will likely be useless — you can’t put a filling in a tooth that would break during drilling. Plus, if infections keep occurring around the tooth due to the tooth’s condition, removal is the safest option.
You should be aware that if you need a tooth removed for this reason, you may need to get an implant to replace the tooth. Leaving a gap, even if you try to wear dentures regularly, could let the surrounding teeth move around and create bite problems. However, your dentist needs to evaluate your jawbone condition to determine if a replacement via implant is safe to do.
When You Are Preparing for Braces
Oddly, sometimes you need a tooth or two removed before you get braces. If you’ve got a crowded mouth, removing teeth can free up space so that your teeth have enough room to move around with pressure from the braces. This is not the most common reason to have a tooth extracted, but it’s definitely not unheard of.
When the Price Makes Sense
Finally, the cost of other procedures often leads patients to consider extraction instead of the other procedure. For example, someone who needs a root canal but who does not have the money or insurance may decide pulling the tooth is the best option in the short term. Tooth extractions can cost a couple of hundred dollars, but that’s much less than what a root canal can cost.
As you may have guessed, that extraction would leave a gap that would need attention eventually. But if you’re in a situation where the tooth simply can’t remain in your mouth while in a diseased state and you can’t afford to have a non-extraction procedure, you may have to have the tooth pulled and deal with the gap when you can afford more treatment.
If you are having problems with a tooth, contact Crest Hill Family Dental. We’ll help you find the best solution to preserve your smile.