Dental Tooth Extractions
In all dental cases, your dental professional will do everything possible to save your teeth. However, in cases where the tooth (or teeth) are badly infected or decaying far beyond saving, the dentist may have no choice but to extract the tooth. A tooth extraction is a procedure that nearly every general dentist does on a daily basis. It is a standard procedure that is done in one of two ways; a simple extraction or a surgical extraction. If you are worried you may need a tooth extracted soon, perhaps it’s a good idea to read up on all the facts involved in this procedure. Possibly, it could alleviate some anxiety you may feel towards it!
How Can a Tooth Be Saved?
There are many reasons as to why a tooth may need to be removed. In most cases, a tooth will need to be removed if the pulp of the tooth is infected and is beyond repair. When a tooth’s pulp becomes infected, a dental professional will perform a number of x-rays to ensure the infection hasn’t reached a point beyond repair (reaching the jaw bone). If the tooth can be repaired, your dentist will perform a root canal procedure to save the tooth.
A root canal therapy procedure can be done, typically on the spot, if the dentist has the appropriate time. The dentist will first administer a local anesthetic injection into the tooth’s surrounding area. This will numb the tooth, the nerves, and all areas around to ensure the patient doesn’t feel any pain during the procedure. Next, the dentist will use a specific tool to drill the top of the infected tooth to create a small opening in the tooth. Using a multitude of scraping dental tools, the dentist will begin to remove all of the tooth’s pulp (where nerve endings live). The pulp is where an infection can live in a tooth, it needs to be removed if it’s started to infect.
The dentist will ensure no pulp is left in the natural tooth. Once all the pulp has been removed, the dentist will clean the area of nerves and blood left from the procedure. Next, the dental professional will use a dental resin to fill in the tooth completely to ensure no space is left unfilled in the tooth. The dentist will then seal off the root canal procedure with a dental crown.
Without root canal therapy, millions of additional teeth would need to be extracted every year. Thanks to this procedure, these teeth can continue to live in the patient’s mouth without causing any pain or discomfort.
However, there are thousands of cases where a dental professional cannot perform a root canal therapy procedure to save a tooth. If the infection has spread too deeply and near the jawbone and has started to decay the natural tooth, the tooth will need to be extracted in order to stop the infection from spreading.
Why Would a Tooth Need to Be Removed?
Periodontal gum disease is a major reason as to why patients need to remove a tooth or several teeth. When a patient doesn’t brush or floss enough, plaque and tartar will start to build up around the foundation of the gum line, where it meets the teeth. When the build-up isn’t taken care of right away, the gums will start to lose their grip on the teeth and will start to pull away. The separation will cause pockets to form between the gum line and the teeth. Bacteria will start to find its way into the pockets and infect that area. Once the infection reaches a point beyond repair, the tooth or teeth must be removed and that gums and surrounding teeth must be cleaned immensely.
If an accident occurs where a tooth becomes broken or fractured and the trauma flows deep below the gum line, this tooth becomes un-repairable and needs to be removed. If a fracture is left untreated it could become a home for bacteria to enter and infect the pulp of the tooth at a later time and will need to be removed immediately.
A tooth can be extracted either with a simple extraction or a surgical extraction. In any case, if a dentist needs to remove a tooth, it can easily be done with a number of dental tools and a low injection of a local anesthetic.
How to Care for My Teeth After an Extraction?
Your dental professional will likely give you the needed tips to follow after your extraction procedure. See below for some directions to follow for after your extraction procedure.
- What to Avoid: Smoking, chewing on any hard or extremely chewy foods, and avoid too much physical activity or excess chewing. Allow yourself time to heal.
- Bring A Friend: If your dentist only gave you a local anesthetic for numbing, you will likely be able to drive yourself home right away. However, if Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) was used, usually for surgical extractions, be sure to bring a friend to drive you home! You may still be under the sedation after the procedure, it is never recommended to drive in this way.
Is My Tooth Extraction Covered by Insurance?
Your dental professional will be happy to go over your dental insurance to ensure whether the extraction(s) will be covered. Insurance will typically cover anything that is affecting the overall health of the mouth. In the situations listed above, the tooth that needs to be removed is for the sake of ensuring good overall health. In the cases listed above, the extraction will likely be fully or at least partially covered by your dental insurance.
If you do not have dental insurance, your dentist will go over different options for payment. He or she will likely ensure minimal out of pocket payments for the extraction(s). It is important to remember that if a dentist recommends an extraction, that the extraction is done right away. If you wait to do the extraction later, you will be putting your oral health at risk of further bacteria spread and infection in the imminent future.