We all expect, at some point or another, to lose a tooth in our lives. As children, the loss of our first primary tooth is often celebrated with excitement and fanfare. However, as adults, losing a permanent tooth can be a scary and devastating loss. If you are missing teeth, you are in good company; nearly 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth from their mouths. We here at Grove Street Family Dentistry do occasionally need to recommend dental extractions for our patients, but when we do, we take extreme caution to ensure that extraction is the best choice for our patient and that our patient does not experience any discomfort during the procedure.
Why Does a Tooth Need to Be Extracted?
Sometimes, no matter how much we want to preserve a tooth, the only choice that makes sense is to extract the tooth. We typically advise an extraction when a tooth is so severely decayed or damaged that it cannot be saved. We may also need to extract a tooth to help prepare you for orthodontic treatment such as dental braces. If your teeth are crowded, we may also need to remove a tooth. If a tooth has a severe infection, that may also warrant extraction. Wisdom teeth also do need to be removed as well, especially if they are at risk of impaction.
Before we start any dental extractions, we will first take a series of digital x-rays. This will help us better understand the condition of your tooth and if extraction is necessary. Once we determine that your tooth is indeed a candidate for extraction, we will then proceed by thoroughly numbing the site up with local anesthetics. For our patients who may be nervous about the procedure, we may also offer sedation options such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you feel calm and relaxed during the procedure.
There are two main types of extractions that we perform in our office. The most common type is called simple extractions. As its name indicates, these are a straightforward type of extraction. During this procedure, we will carefully loosen your tooth with a special tool called an elevator. Once your tooth is adequately loosened, we will remove it with our forceps.
We do occasionally have to perform surgical extractions on our patients in our office, too. These are more complicated and occur for a variety of reasons. Common causes that require surgical extraction include the tooth breaking off underneath the surface of the gums or perhaps it had not erupted (broken through the gumline) yet. To surgically remove a tooth, we may need to make an incision into your gum line to remove it. Sometimes we do need to break the tooth into smaller, more manageable pieces to remove it all. This is performed with either a combination of local and intravenous (IV) anesthesia or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the surgery needed.
If you have been told that you need a tooth removed, you can be confident that you are in good hands when you come to see us. To learn more about dental extractions, or to schedule an appointment with us for a checkup and a cleaning, please give us here at Grove Street Family Dentistry a call today at (360) 659-3200!