At what point does my tooth need to be extracted?
When you have a cavity or another dental problem, your dentist is usually able to repair and restore its functionality. Sometimes this is done through a filling, sometimes a root canal and a crown, and so forth. Sometimes a tooth is simply beyond restoration. Radiographs and X-rays are crucial as they allow your dentist to see just how much the damage has progressed. Here’s insight into when (and why) your dentist might decide that a tooth extraction is necessary.
Isn’t it bizarre how something as small as plaque can destroy a substance harder than your bones? That’s your enamel, the outermost layer of your tooth and the hardest substance in your entire body.
At the first stage of decay, acids from plaque and leftover bits of food begin to wear down the enamel. If untreated, this leads to a cavity, which can be treated with a filling. But if the decay continues to progress, it will reach the dentin.
The dentin is softer than the enamel and the decay speeds up at this point. If not caught in time, decay that has damaged the dentin needs to be cleaned out and the tooth protected with a crown. However, if the decay has reached the pulp—the innermost part of the tooth containing the blood vessels and the nerves—a root canal needs to be completed and a crown placed.
If the deepest layers of the pulp have become infected or there is not enough tooth left to crown, your tooth will need to be extracted. In fact, it’s not safe to leave a tooth in the mouth when it needs to come out. For example, if a severely decayed tooth is left in the mouth too long and does not get extracted, it can lead to blood poisoning. If you’re experiencing a frequent and persistent toothache, contact your dentist immediately.
A Traumatic Injury
Many of us have experienced a tooth-injury scare while playing sports or after biting down on something really hard. Tooth injuries are common. One billion people living in the world today have had at least one tooth injury at some point in their lifetime. It’s necessary, then, that you are familiar with what to do when these injuries happen and how to ensure the greatest likelihood of keeping your tooth.
There are a few different kinds of injuries. Chips and fractures are the most common types and can usually be repaired and fixed. If the tooth is split all the way down, it may need to be repaired with a crown, or you may need an extraction.
Another type of injury that may result in the permanent loss of your tooth is if it comes out completely. If this happens, don’t panic. Contact your dentist immediately. Be very careful to not touch the root of the tooth, and, if it’s gotten dirty, rinse it off but do not try to wipe the dirt off. The sooner the tooth gets implanted back into your mouth, the greater your chances are of keeping it.
We think about our teeth and caring for them when it comes to having a healthy mouth, but gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss so it deserves our equal attention. But how does this process happen?
Gum disease is easy to stop if it’s caught in the initial stages. But if it is left untreated, it begins to attack the bone supporting the teeth. At this stage, we call it periodontitis. The bone cannot be rebuilt. Like with tooth cavities, the sooner it is caught and treated, the better the outcome and the greater the chance of keeping your tooth.
But if it is left alone, your jawbone bone will continue to lose mass until it can no longer support teeth. If your teeth are going to fall out due to gum disease, it’s much better to schedule a tooth extraction and have them done by your dentist so the area can be kept sterile. This way, you have a greater chance of saving your other teeth.
After your tooth is extracted, there are options.
Just because your dentist had to pull your tooth, this out doesn’t mean you need to smile toothless! There are many prosthetic options that look and function beautifully, such as dental implants and implant-supported dentures, and the dentists at Monroe Family Dentistry are experts in helping you restore your smile.
The first step in gaining the smile you deserve is to book an appointment at our Greenville, SC, dental office so our dentists can evaluate your unique circumstances and recommend the best treatment for you. We can’t wait to help you smile your healthiest smile.