Your teeth are vitally important to your everyday life. You need them to chew, speak, smile, and more. So why would you ever choose to pull a tooth?
The reality is that there are many situations where your dentist may recommend that you undergo a tooth extraction. Knowing more about the reasons for this common procedure may help you to accept that it is the right course of action or may even mean you are able to avoid it altogether.
Overcrowding and Impaction
Overcrowding occurs when you have too many teeth for the available space in your mouth. This can cause the teeth to become crooked, misaligned, and even impacted. It can also make it difficult to clean teeth well, which can lead to decay. In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be an option, but at other times the only way to correct overcrowding is to extract one or more teeth.
Impaction is a common complication of overcrowding that occurs when a tooth cannot erupt into the correct position in the mouth. This means a tooth may come in at an irregular angle or not be able to break through the gums at all. Impaction often occurs with wisdom teeth and can cause pain, infection, and damage to the surrounding teeth. The treatment for an impacted tooth is to extract it.
There is no way for you to prevent overcrowding or impaction. However, finding these issues as they begin to affect your teeth can mean treating them quickly and avoiding additional problems that can result.
Tooth decay can be one of the most common reasons for tooth extraction. Tooth decay arises when bacteria in your mouth produce acid. This acid attacks the enamel of your teeth. If the decay is not treated, it can progress to the point where the tooth needs to be removed. Eventually, tooth decay can lead to serious infection and abscess, which can be painful and even life-threatening.
Catching and treating cavities early means a high probability that the affected tooth can be saved by a less drastic measure, such as a simple filling.
Periodontal disease is an infection and inflammation in the gum tissue surrounding your teeth. This condition damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. It can cause your tooth to loosen and may require extraction to prevent further damage.
Like with tooth decay, finding and treating gum disease early means a good chance it can be reversed with less invasive treatments. In fact, early-stage gum disease can often be treated with simple oral hygiene changes.
Accidents happen to everyone. And sometimes, injuries to the face or mouth can cause such severe damage to a tooth that it's impossible to repair the tooth. Trauma to the teeth can cause them to become loose, cracked, or even broken. In such situations, your provider might recommend an extraction to prevent further pain and complications.
Preventing Tooth Loss
Understanding the reasons for tooth extraction helps us better appreciate the importance of oral health care. The best way to prevent tooth loss is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth for two whole minutes twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist for your regular check-ups and cleanings.
However, if you're already dealing with any of these issues, remember that tooth extraction isn't the end of the world. Modern dentistry offers many options for making you comfortable during your procedure, and for replacing extracted teeth and restoring your smile.
Regular dental check-ups can go a long way in preventing the need for such drastic measures. If it's time, schedule your next appointment today!