Why Would I Need a Tooth Extracted?
There are numerous reasons why patients may need to have one or more teeth extracted, but there is one simple question we ask before determining whether or not tooth removal is needed. Will extraction benefit overall oral health for the patient? If the answer to this question is yes, we will likely recommend a tooth be removed. Some of the specific situations that lead to tooth extraction include:
- Severe decay that has adversely impacted the health of surrounding teeth and gums
- Damage that may cause unnecessary wear to the surrounding or opposing teeth or damage cheeks, lips, gums, and other soft tissue
- Decay and damage that is too advanced to support a restoration like a crown or bridge
- Preparation for orthodontic treatment when teeth are severely crowded
- Prior to designing and placing a partial or full denture, teeth that are very worn, decayed, or damaged will likely be removed to prevent the need for future partial or full denture creation
- Third molars, wisdom teeth, are often extracted because they can lead to impaction (inability of a tooth to erupt or improper eruption) or shift teeth out of alignment
What’s the Difference Between Pulling a Tooth and Surgical Removal?
Teeth are extracted in two basic ways - pulling and surgical extraction. Pulling a tooth is usually only possible for teeth that are already shifted from the socket or have just erupted from the gum line and have not yet fully fused with the jaw and gum tissue. When this occurs, we can numb the area and shift the tooth back and forth pulling it free from its socket. Surgical removal is necessary when teeth haven’t erupted from the gum line or when they have fused too soundly to the supportive tooth structures to be safely pulled. Another example is if the tooth is too damaged and breaks while being extracted. Surgical removal involves the cutting away of supportive tissues to expose and remove the tooth. In some cases, we may also break the tooth into several small sections for easier extraction.