At our Decatur, AL dental office, we work hard to make sure you keep all of your natural teeth. As a rule, natural is better than artificial. However, the ultimate rule is to keep you healthy and pain-free. That means there are times when the best thing to do is remove a tooth. Here are six cases where a dental extraction is probably the last, best treatment you can get.
1. Your dental pulp inside the tooth became infected, and it wasn’t caught in time. Cavities and gum disease are caused by harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. Cavities are the most common dental problem in the country, showing just how widespread those bacteria are. These cavities won’t go away without treatment at our Decatur, AL dental office. In fact, they’ll just keep getting bigger.
Eventually, they will break through to your dental pulp. Since your tooth’s nerve endings are all here, this bacterial infection can get very painful. You’ll need a root canal to remove the infection. However, there are cases when even a root canal won’t help. The infection took over too much of the dental pulp, and the tooth is about to die. That’s why teeth with serious infections may have to be removed. Sadly, it’s already over.
2. Your wisdom teeth are coming in, but they’re making big problems. Your third molars are nicknamed “wisdom teeth” because they come in much later in your life — when you are wiser than your childhood years when the other permanent teeth came in. However, coming in late like that usually causes problems for you. Wisdom teeth often don’t come in completely and remain impacted. This creates small pockets between the tooth and your gum tissue. It’s easy for food and bacteria to fill those pockets.
Then there’s often a problem with your second molars. Wisdom teeth can come in under those teeth, pushing up against them. This can knock many of your teeth out of alignment and can damage that second molar. Because of all this, your wisdom teeth will probably have to come out. It might be the only way to make sure the rest of your teeth and your gums stay healthy.
3. Your smile is overcrowded because you have too many teeth. Everyone is supposed to have 32 teeth. That’s what your mouth is designed to hold. But some people are born with extra teeth. Either they had more than 32 teeth as a young child, or an extra one or two appeared when those permanent teeth finally started coming in. You might have a baby tooth that never came out and stayed in after your permanent teeth arrived. Either way, you could have an overcrowded smile.
The only safe way to treat this problem is with a dental extraction. Once the extra tooth is removed, your smile will start to look normal again.
4. You broke a tooth open through a bad accident. Accidents happen. The same goes for injuries. Both are things you can do some planning for, such as by wearing a customized athletic mouthguard from our Decatur, AL dental office. However, you cannot predict when an accident will happen. You could be in a car wreck and bang your mouth against the steering wheel. You could be biking and hit a slick patch. You can even get hit with a foul ball just watching the game.
Normally, any damage to your teeth from these accidents can be repaired with restorative dentistry. However, there are times when a tooth has been damaged so severely, there’s not enough left to save. In these cases, it’s better to have a dental extraction and remove the remaining part of the tooth.
5. Gum disease has gotten so bad, your tooth will fall out anyway. Gum disease is when the harmful bacteria that cause cavities start to damage your gum tissue. At first, you’ll have gums that are sore, dark, and bleeding when you brush. If not treated, the bacteria will get inside your gums and make things much worse. Your gums will recede from your teeth, which will get loose and eventually fall out.
If there’s a tooth that is going to fall out anyway, it’s usually smart to get a dental extraction. This way, you can control how the tooth comes out and when.
6. A cavity grew so big that fillings and dental crowns won’t work anymore. When a cavity is small, it can be repaired. Dr. Betts will remove the bacteria and fill in the cavity with a composite, tooth-colored filling. When a cavity is too big for a filling, it can still be repaired. Dr. Betts would use a dental crown instead of a filling to make sure the tooth stays intact.
However, there are times when a cavity is so big, there’s not enough healthy enamel left for either a filling or dental crown. In these extreme cases, a dental extraction can be the only way to relieve your pain and keep the rest of your mouth healthy.
If you are worried that one of your teeth might need to come out, call us today at 256-274-8680. Our team can examine your tooth and determine if it really does need to be removed.