A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth, a safe and routine procedure that is no cause for worry. If extraction is recommended, for a wisdom tooth or any other tooth, we will explain why this is the best course of action for the health of your mouth.
What is tooth extraction?
A tooth extraction is often referred to as “pulling teeth”. We may perform the procedure right in our office, or under certain circumstances refer you to an oral surgeon.
Why would I need an extraction?
Our dentists may recommend extraction for a number of reasons, including:
- The tooth is so badly decayed that it cannot be saved and the mouth would be healthier without it
- The tooth has been broken in a way that cannot be repaired
- A tooth is impacted, which means it has not properly emerged through the gums. This often happens with wisdom teeth.
- A tooth is positioned in a way that it could crowd or damage other teeth
- Removal in preparation for braces or orthodontic treatment
- Very serious gum disease, called periodontitis
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are actually your third set of molars, the chewing teeth towards the back of your mouth. They typically emerge, or erupt, in one’s late teens or early twenties. If there is room in the jaw to accommodate them, and they emerge fully and straight, without crowding other teeth, then there is no need to remove them.
Why would wisdom teeth need to be extracted?
Though there is nothing inherently wrong with wisdom teeth, they are often removed so that they don’t cause problems for your other teeth and the rest of your mouth. Wisdom teeth often get impacted, which means they did not fully or properly emerge through the gums. Partially emerged teeth can be difficult to clean, which leads to plaque accumulation and tooth decay. Teeth that are not positioned straight can cause a comfort issue and crowd existing teeth. Ask us at our Brandywine office, Middletown office, Hockessin office, Newark office, or Wilmington office to show you your wisdom teeth on the x-ray and explain how their positioning affects your mouth.
What can I expect from an extraction?
While it may sound like a scary procedure, modern dentistry has made the procedure routine, with minimal discomfort. Make sure to share any concerns you have with us. Extractions are performed with anesthesia which numbs the area of the mouth around the tooth to be extracted, so while you will feel some pressure from the procedure, there should be little or no pain. If you have trouble getting numb, or have dental fears that make you uncomfortable with dentistry, discuss this ahead of time with us. It may be possible to use sedation dentistry to keep you relaxed and comfortable throughout the whole procedure. Once you are comfortable, the procedure is usually relatively quick. Afterwards, we will give you instructions on keeping the removal area clean and helping the area properly heal. It is important to carefully follow these instructions to prevent infection or other complications. We may also discuss the benefits of and options for tooth replacement, including partial dentures, bridges and dental implants.
What alternatives do I have to extraction?
This really depends on your particular circumstances, so it is best to ask our dentists in our Brandywine office, Middletown office, Hockessin office, Newark office, or Wilmington office whether there are any alternatives. Depending on the circumstances it may be possible to repair a damaged tooth with a crown and/or a root canal instead of extracting it. While extraction may seem initially like the least expensive option, we will probably recommend replacing the extracted tooth. An extracted tooth that is not replaced can leave a gap that causes problems for the surrounding teeth and potentially affecting your bite. If it is an option, repairing and saving the tooth may end up being less expensive than extracting and replacing that same tooth with partial dentures, bridges or dental implants. Ask us to explain all the options, and why extraction is or is not recommended.