There are lots of questions that people have once they are told that their tooth needs to be extracted. Especially when they don't have tooth pain, a tooth ache, or an abscess tooth. The simple answer is that a tooth extraction needs to be done when the tooth cannot be restored. That means that a dental crown and dental filling won't be enough to save the tooth or fix the issue. It there is a tooth cavity that goes too close to your bone then trying to fix it with a dental filling or a dental crown will lead to long-term inflammation which is not ideal. The second reason is if your tooth is cracked below the gum line. To fix a cracked tooth you need to fully remove the crack, so again if it is below the gums, you can't put a filling or crown that deep because it will cause chronic inflammation. The last reason is if you have tooth mobility and have a loose tooth from gum disease of periodontal disease. If the gum disease has progressed to so much bone loss that your teeth are significantly loose, they often cannot be saved and pulling them is the best solution.
It sometimes seems that if you don't have a tooth ache and don't have tooth pain that you can leave the tooth in until it hurts. You can do this, but most of the time there is a dental abcess, tooth infection, or inflammation that is present even in the absence of pain. It is important to fix these issues even if you aren't in pain because they cause an insult to your total health and compromise your immune system.
The process of pulling a tooth depends on which tooth it is, how strong the bone is, how big the current tooth infection is, and how broken down the tooth is. In a best case scenario, all you will need is local numbing by your dentist or oral surgeon who can then wiggle the tooth out fairy a traumatically. If the tooth is severely compromised your dentist or surgeon will likely need to remove some bone in order to get all of the tooth out. If there is a large infection, it may not be possible to fully numb the tooth so you may need to be put under for the procedure. If your plan to replace is to get a dental implant, then when the tooth is pulled a bone graft will be placed to make sure you have enough bone for the dental implant. If your plan is to get a dental bridge, partial denture, or to leave the space empty, then sometimes nothing is placed and sometimes a collagen plug is placed just to help with the healing.
After a tooth is pulled it is important to take it easy for the next few days while the site heals. Your dentist will recommend that you don't do any strenuous activity because they don't want your heart rate to go up to high. They will often also prescribe antibiotics and suggest a soft food diet. Smoking and straws should not be used for the first week. Smoking tobacco will drastically delay the healing process, but it is the suction from straws and all forms of smoking that we want to avoid because it can pull out the blood clot that will create a dry socket which is painful and can't easily be fixed after it occurs.
If your dentist recommends an extraction, it can always be prudent to get a second opinion from the best dentist near you or the best oral surgeon near you. But if the extraction is recommended by more than one dentist or by a dentist whom you trust, it is wise to have the procedure done sooner rather than later before the problem gets worse. The thought of having a tooth pulled can be scary but is very manageable and the process only becomes more difficult the longer you wait.
Why does my tooth need to be extracted?
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Are teeth extractions necessary?
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Why would a dentist have to pull a tooth?
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How long does it take to recover from tooth extraction?
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How do you replace a tooth that has been pulled?
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Do I need to get my wisdom teeth pulled?