Your teeth are the hardest substance in your body, even harder than your bones, and they get much daily use. They are responsible for biting and chewing. They control airflow when you are speaking. They provide you with a great smile. Your teeth are even essential for maintaining the health of your jawbone. While your teeth are exceptionally strong, it is still possible for them to face issues, even with proper maintenance. When damage occurs, whether it is a crack, a chip or decay, we explore every option possible to restore them. However, there are some instances in which the teeth are damaged beyond repair. If your damaged tooth cannot be saved, Shenandoah Family Dentistry can perform a tooth extraction.
Damaged teeth require immediate treatment. While some damage may be minor, other damage can have serious consequences for your oral, and overall, health. When more serious damage goes untreated, it can allow bacteria into the inner layers of the tooth, causing painful infections. These bacteria can then enter the bloodstream and cause major health issues. While attempting to save a damaged tooth is always a priority, sometimes it is just not in your best interest.
Before deciding to extract your tooth, we first perform a thorough oral evaluation. We take a close look at your teeth and gums, checking for visible signs of damage and infection. We also take x-rays, which allow us to see the hidden structures of your mouth. We can see damage to the roots of your teeth, damage to the jawbone, abscesses and more. Your evaluation allows us to see the full picture of your oral health and allows us to assess restoration possibilities. If we determine that no restoration will provide successful treatment, we will then choose to extract. Common reasons for extractions include:
• Large cracks that travel below the gumline, or teeth that have split completely in half. Crowns are often used for cracked teeth, but they can only protect the visible surface of your teeth. They cannot protect teeth below the gumline. Even with a crown, a tooth can still develop an infection.
• Fractures that are completely below the gumline. Again, these teeth cannot be protected by crowns, and are susceptible to infections.
• A shattered tooth. If a tooth is shattered, it cannot support a crown.
• Severe tooth decay. Cavities are treated with fillings, but fillings can compromise teeth with large cavities. Teeth with large cavities also cannot support a crown.
• Overcrowding. When your teeth are overcrowded, orthodontic treatment is often recommended. However, if there is not enough room to correct your teeth, one or more teeth may need to be extracted first.
• Impacted teeth. A common issue with wisdom teeth, impacted teeth are those that cannot erupt through the gumline.
There are two types of extractions. The condition of your teeth will play a major role in determining the type of extraction we choose. The first is a simple extraction. This type of extraction is done under a local anesthetic. Sedation may be used if you are feeling anxious. The tooth is gripped with forceps and moved back and forth in the socket, widening it. Once the socket is wide enough, the tooth lifts free.
Surgical extractions are used for more complex situations, such as when the tooth is blocked, it is broken in several pieces, or it is stuck fully below the gumline. These extractions are done under local anesthetic and sedation. We begin by making small incisions in your gums, exposing the entire tooth and the bone surrounding it. We then work to remove the tooth from the socket. In some cases, bone may need to be removed in order to fully access the tooth. In other cases, the tooth may need to be broken to completely remove it. We carefully remove every piece and clean the socket before suturing the surgical wound closed.
Because the teeth play so many important roles in the mouth, we explore every option available to save them. If they are beyond repair, however, your best option may be to extract them and replace them. Call Shenandoah Family Dentistry for more information today at (540) 667-8731.