Extracting Teeth to Maintain Dental Health
Sometimes, a dentist has no choice but to extract a tooth before an infection or decay spreads to other parts of the mouth. This can happen when a tooth is cracked beyond repair. Dr. Alexis Leigh Glaser DMD, who runs her own dental practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, talks here about why it can make sense to remove teeth for the good of the mouth – and optimal dental health.
I am a big fan of extracting teeth to maintain dental health. In a patient who cannot reach the back part of his mouth to floss and brush properly, we often recommend taking those teeth out. It often can be hard for people to get the back parts of the teeth clean, and some people are afraid to stick their hands back there. So we recommend taking some teeth out so they do not decay or get gum disease. Bacteria in the mouth like to hide, and if you give them extra places to hide, they will stay there and hurt everything else.
The only other time that I extract teeth would be if there is a broken tooth or if there is an infection present – one that would mandate removing the tooth. Occasionally, we also extract teeth for other medical reasons, and sometimes for financial reasons as well. If the patient cannot afford to have a root canal, for example, then we would have the tooth extracted.
Process of Extracting Teeth
It’s all about technique. The teeth are held into the bone by ligaments, which are kind of like little strings attached to the teeth. If you can break those little strings, then the tooth comes out easily. So mainly what a patient will feel is a lot of pressure; there should not be any pain involved at all, although it might feel a little bit uncomfortable.
Here in Pembroke Pines, all of our patients facing tooth extraction would have a local anesthetic applied first to take away allof the feeling from both the tissue and the bone. That will last several hours after the procedure has finished. And afterward, patients are also given pain medication in case they need it.
Damaged Beyond Repair
A damaged tooth that cannot be fixed can cause unrelenting pain, and can also hurt the teeth that are near it as well as the surrounding gums. In this case, a tooth extraction is warranted. Constant pain often means that the nerve of the tooth has been damaged beyond repair, and that fixing it would be impossible. Superficial damage, however, can often be repaired. If a tooth is chipped or broken, then your dentist may be able to file down the remains and then place a cap over it.
In that same vein, when wisdom teeth don’t erupt above the gum line but seem to be causing interference with the development of other teeth, they also may need to be extracted. Consult your dentist to determine the best solution for you.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.