Tooth extractions, or the removal of one or more teeth, are usually used as a last resort in dentistry, as keeping the natural tooth in the mouth is ideal. There are many reasons why single or multiple extractions may be performed, including tooth decay, damage from wisdom teeth, periodontal ("gum") disease, trauma, fracture, or the need to create space for orthodontic tooth movement.
The most significant short-term benefit associated with tooth extraction is the elimination of pain. If a tooth is severely decayed or an infection is present, removing the affected tooth almost immediately alleviates discomfort. However, it should be noted that further procedures are necessary to replace the extracted tooth. Leaving a gap is not a preferred option as the other teeth tend to shift out of alignment to fill the space, and chewing function and facial appearance may be compromised.
Why might I need to have a tooth extraction?
Tooth extractions are incredibly common procedures. It should be reiterated that an extraction is used as a procedure of last resort, when nothing more can be done to save the tooth.
Here is a brief overview of some of the main reasons for tooth extraction:
- Deep decay – This is easily the most common reason for tooth extraction, accounting for around two-thirds of all extraction procedures performed.
- Extra teeth –There are a variety of typed of extra teeth, but most commonly they are baby teeth that do not shed. Extra teeth take up space on the arch, causing nearby teeth to shift out of place or become trapped and not erupt. A tooth extraction is necessary in this case to provide enough space for the teeth to properly align.
- Periodontal disease – Often teeth have to be extracted because the gums and underlying bone are so severely eroded that they can no longer hold the tooth in place securely. The cause of bone and gum recession is almost always advanced periodontal disease (gum disease). Poor bone density means that the chance of restoring the natural tooth is minimal.
- Prior to braces – Traditional orthodontic braces require enough space to for the teeth to move into ideal alignment. If space cannot be created naturally, a tooth may need to be extracted.
- Fractured teeth – Fortunately, dentists are able to save injured teeth in most circumstances with the aid of root canal therapy. However, there are some instances where the tooth has become fractured in a way that makes repair impossible.
How is the extraction procedure performed?
Our office works directly with your dentist's office to identify and, when necessary, remove problem teeth. Generally, tooth extraction can be simple in nature or involve more complex surgical processes. Depending upon the position of the tooth in the mouth, Dr. Murphy can often perform the evaluation and simple extraction under local anesthesia at a single appointment. Please call our office to assist you with scheduling.