Tooth extraction is often the last resort for a severely damaged or infected tooth. Wisdom teeth are removed because they are unnecessary and often create other problems, but every other tooth is an essential part of your mouth.
If you have an infected or decayed tooth, which cannot be treated by root canal treatment, then it it is far better to have a tooth extraction, than allowing the infection or decay to spread into the gums and damage bone structure as well as surrounding teeth.
How is a Tooth Removed?
A tooth extraction is a delicate procedure that must be carried out properly to ensure all affected areas are removed, and pain is reduced as much as possible.
All tooth extractions should begin with a thorough consultation, in which your exact procedure will be explained, and you can bring up any concerns or fears you have. There also needs to be a discussion about post-extraction treatments and how you can replace the tooth. A missing tooth can lead to reduced functionality, so replacing a tooth is as vital as the extraction.
Typical Extraction Procedure
This a rundown of a typical extraction procedure:
- During the consultancy, your dentist will discuss the process as well as anaesthetic and pain relief techniques that will be used during and after the treatment.
- Local or general anaesthetic will be given before the extraction. The level of anaesthesia you receive will depend on the size of the extraction, and how embedded the tooth is. Your preference will also be taken into account. If you require a general anaesthetic, the procedure will be overseen by a professional anaesthetist.
- To undertake an extraction, the surgeon will first apply pressure to release the ‘hold’ that the bone has on the tooth. Once this is done, then the tooth is gently removed. If it is more complicated, then a small surgical procedure may be necessary to remove all the gum and tissue that keep the tooth in place before gently removing the tooth. When dealing with a larger tooth, like a wisdom tooth or a molar, the tooth will need to be cut up and removed in sections to prevent trauma to surrounding gum and tissue.
- For a smaller extraction, gauze is usually enough to protect the area from infection. For a more substantial extraction, stitches will have to be used. Most surgeons use dissolving stitches, so you won’t have to go back to have them removed.
- A detailed home-care package is essential to speed up the recovery process and ensure you don’t suffer from any infections or further damage while you’re recovering.
Your Tooth Replacement Options
Getting a tooth extracted is beneficial, but the entire procedure is far more effective if you get the tooth replaced. A missing tooth can cause:
- Your remaining teeth to move
- A change in your facial appearance
- Increased stress on remaining teeth causing further tooth loss
- Reduced functionality, which can affect eating and even speech patterns.
Luckily, you have a number of replacement options at your disposal following extraction. The best treatments are:
- Dental Bridges: Bridges are a structure that is used between two or more crowns so a missing tooth can be replaced. They perform both a functional and aesthetic role and commonly involve creating a crown for teeth on either side of the missing tooth and using a pontic, or replacement tooth, in between the two. Cantilever bridges and Maryland bonded bridges are also popular forms of tooth replacement.
- Dental Implants: A dental implant is the most effective form of tooth replacement because it acts exactly like a healthy tooth. An implant consists of two elements, a post and a crown. The post looks like a screw and is inserted into the gum and jawbone to act as the root for the crown. Once the post has fused with the jawbone, the crown is placed on top of the post. The crown looks exactly like a tooth, and you can look after your implant like a regular tooth. Implants also have the advantage of being fixed, so you don’t have to take them out to eat, drink and sleep.
- All on 4 Dental Implants: All on 4 implants function in the same way as dental implants, except a full mouth of teeth can be placed on just four posts. This makes them a better alternative to dentures.
It’s Not That Scary
So, getting a tooth extracted isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s a standard procedure and thanks to modern techniques, the entire process can be carried out with a minimum of fuss and pain, and you’ll be recovered in no time.
And, you don’t even have to worry about losing the function or aesthetic of your smile. Modern tooth replacement techniques are seamless, so no one will even know you’ve gone through an extraction procedure.
If you are in a position where a tooth extraction is required, don’t worry, you really have very little to worry about.