When a tooth is having problems, the first choice for many people would be a restoration. Dentures, crowns, fillings, etc. are all restorative options. Although you may not want to lose a tooth, there are times where your dentist may think that it is a better option.
When is a tooth extraction better than a restoration?
If you've had restorations in the past for a problem tooth, but they keep failing, then it may be better to extract the tooth. Failed restorations are more common in individuals who grind their teeth, as this added pressure can actually break down filling material.
A tooth extraction can be ideal for those that need orthodontic work for crowded teeth. Sometimes the jaw is not large enough to support all of your teeth, and crowded teeth can make it harder to brush and floss. Crowded teeth can sometimes even cause pain when you eat.
Extractions can be a great option if you've root canal failures in the past. Some people have extra canals that are harder to fill, so an extraction can help you prevent an abscess. A dental abscess is a dangerous condition if left alone. If the bacteria in the abscess leaks into the bloodstream, the infection can actually spread to the rest of your body.
Lastly, extractions are very common for wisdom teeth. Some people have large enough jaws to sustain these third molars. Some people may have lost teeth earlier in life and the wisdom teeth can shift to take there place. However, the majority of people need wisdom teeth out because there isn't any room and impacted teeth can cause pain and decay.
What is an extraction like?
Depending on the tooth, your extraction can take place at a general dentistry office or at a specialty office, like at an oral surgeon. General dentists can extract erupted teeth, while oral surgeons are usually needed for embedded wisdom teeth since they have to cut into the gum tissue and bone.
The procedure itself is an outpatient procedure and very easy. After the site is numb, the dentist will carefully cut gum tissue and and then use forceps to remove the tooth. If there are teeth below the surface of the gumline that need to be broken up, then you may have intravenous anesthesia and need to be taken home by a friend or family member.
For more information on tooth extractions, contact a dentist in your local area.