Tooth ExtractionsIt may be determined that you need a tooth extraction – for any number of reasons. Some teeth need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted wisdom teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment (braces). These extractions are therapeutic in nature, and the teeth do not need replacement.
Other teeth are removed because they are severely decayed, have advanced periodontal disease, or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Removal and appropriate replacement of these teeth is an excellent, predictable treatment. Tooth replacement such as dental implants can be started during the same appointment as the extraction. This minimizes discomfort, shortens healing time, and helps avoid complications. Additionally, bone height can also be preserved with socket preservation to protect your surrounding teeth, resulting in a real win-win.
Unfortunately, in the pursuit of pain relief, many teeth are extracted when there are more desirable health options. It’s important to remember that extracting a single functional tooth without proper replacement can often be the beginning of much worse dental health issues than those stemming from the original problem.
To avoid these complications, Dr. Funderburk will discuss with you alternatives to extractions, including pain relief options that will save the remaining tooth and bone – even if restoration of the tooth needs to be done at a later time.
Just Pull It, Doc…
Unfortunately, most teeth are extracted because the patient’s been led to believe that extraction is the least expensive option available. Or worse, they are desperate for pain relief and haven’t been properly educated about the other, more desirable options available.
The loss of even a single functional tooth can compromise your chewing ability, cause other teeth to shift, damage your jaw joint, or prompt periodontal disease – all of which have a major negative impact on your dental health.
Here at Comfort Dental, we recommend extraction of a tooth only if it’s the best option for your dental health. Even if pain relief is your immediate goal, we can accomplish that just as quickly with other procedures – while saving the tooth and doing so with less postoperative pain and fewer complications! There is less down time from work or other activity, and no bone loss due to an unnecessary extraction. All this at about the same cost as an unnecessary extraction!
No One Can See It
Many patients feel that extraction of a functional “back” tooth is all right because “no one can see it”. While this may initially be true, unless this tooth is replaced, the heavy bite forces it absorbed are transferred to the remaining front teeth.
Your front teeth, or incisors, are designed to “incise”- think of biting into an apple or a sandwich. Your back teeth are designed to crush and grind even the toughest foods you eat. If you transfer those heavy duties to teeth not designed to handle them, the smaller teeth become overwhelmed.
The result is your front teeth – the teeth everyone can see, begin to suffer unnecessary damage. Quite commonly, they begin to separate, creating an unsightly gap between them. It has a snowball effect. As you lose more back teeth, you begin to lose front teeth – simply because you have no back teeth.
The Snowball Effect
Somewhere, somehow, all giant snowballs begin as one snowflake. This tiny snowflake joins another. Then another. Then many others, until a tiny ball is formed. This tiny ball begins take shape, propelling it forward – faster and faster. The result: even more snowflakes are picked-up along the way. Of course, the more snow that sticks to the once tiny ball, the bigger it becomes and the faster it speeds downhill.
Dental problems are very similar to this. They start small, but compound rapidly. Don’t needlessly remove a tooth now, thinking you are avoiding trouble and expense later. The opposite is usually true.