Your dentist will do everything possible to prolong the life of your natural teeth, but sometimes teeth can be too severely damaged to be saved and will have to be extracted. This is something that might be necessary if the tooth has substantial decay, if it is fractured right down to the root or has suffered some other kind of trauma. Sometimes extraction is necessary due to the failure of root canal treatment. Other reasons for tooth extraction include:
Having a badly infected tooth that cannot be treated through root canal treatment or the use of antibiotics. In this case extraction might be necessary to prevent the infection from spreading, especially if this could affect general health.
If there is risk of infection due to having a compromised immune system. This is something that may be relevant to anyone undergoing chemotherapy or who has had an organ transplant as the risk of infection may be sufficient reason to extract it.
Having advanced gum disease or periodontal disease, as this can cause the teeth to become loose so there is little choice but to extract the affected teeth.
What Can I Expect during a Tooth Extraction?
Your tooth extraction can probably be carried out under local anaesthetic, but we can also offer additional sedation if required, including nitrous oxide or laughing gas, oral sedation or intravenous sedation. Once the tooth is removed you might need stitches, and you'll probably need to bite down on a piece of clean gauze to help stop the bleeding. It's likely that you'll be provided with a temporary restoration, especially if the extracted tooth is highly visible whenever you smile or talk.
If you are considering replacing missing teeth with dental implants sometime in the future, then bear in mind that maintaining sufficient bone is critical.
Following extraction, it is common for up to ___% of the bone in the area to resorb. As the socket shrinks, significant irregularities in the shape of the tissue will occur.
Socket preservation involves placing a bone graft material is into the empty socket once the tooth has been removed to limit the bone resorption process. A protective barrier membrane is placed over the bone graft before the gum tissue is closed over the membrane. As healing occurs the bone graft and the barrier membrane will be resorbed into the body.
This technique is useful if you are unsure whether you will be replacing your missing teeth, but wish to keep your options open and simplify potential treatment in future.
What to Expect after Extraction
We will give you lots of advice on how to recover following tooth extraction, and if necessary can prescribe additional analgesics. It can be helpful to rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help reduce the discomfort and swelling. You should avoid smoking as this can slow down the healing. Avoid physical activity after surgery as this could increase the bleeding. It's best to stick to soft foods during the first few days and to gradually reintroduce harder foods as the extraction site heals. Try not to fiddle with it extraction site with your tongue, and avoid it when brushing your teeth.
The Importance of Replacing Teeth after They Have Been Extracted
Your teeth are all designed to work together. If one or more teeth are lost then over time it will affect your remaining teeth, although the impact may not be noticeable in the immediate term.
The adjacent teeth will begin to shift and move position and to drift into the spaces created by the missing teeth. The opposing teeth usually bite against other teeth and this helps to keep them in place. When teeth are removed they no longer meet any resistance during biting and chewing and as a result will begin to drift towards the empty space.
These factors can affect your appearance, creating unsightly gaps in between other teeth, and can also affect the way your teeth bite together. Missing teeth make it more difficult to eat properly, and might affect your speech. Replacing teeth will help ensure your natural teeth remain firmly in the correct positions, protecting your oral health.
There are several different ways in which you can replace missing teeth including dentures and partial dentures, bridges and dental implants. Dental implants are often considered to be the best option as they don't negatively impact existing teeth, and they can be used to support crowns, bridges and dentures.