Having a tooth pulled in adulthood is sometimes necessary.
Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be needed. A very common reason involves a tooth that is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay, to be repaired. Other reasons include:
A crowded mouth.
Sometimes dentists pull teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontia. The goal of orthodontia is to properly align the teeth, which may not be possible if your teeth are too big for your mouth. Likewise, if a tooth cannot break through the gum (erupt) because there is not room in the mouth for it, your dentist may recommend pulling it.
If tooth decay or damage extends to the pulp -- the center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels -- bacteria in the mouth can enter the pulp, leading to infection. Often this can be corrected with root canal therapy (RCT), but if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or RCT do not cure it, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection.
Risk of infection.
If your immune system is compromised (for example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or are having an organ transplant), even the risk of infection in a particular tooth may be reason enough to pull the tooth.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease.
If periodontal disease -- an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth -- have caused loosening of the teeth, it may be necessary to the pull the tooth or teeth.
Dentists and oral surgeons (dentists with special training to perform surgery) perform tooth extractions. Before pulling the tooth, your dentist will give you an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. If you are having more than one tooth pulled or if a tooth is impacted, your dentist may use a strong general anesthetic. This will prevent pain throughout your body and make you sleep through the procedure.
If the tooth is impacted, the dentist will cut away gum and bone tissue that cover the tooth and then, using forceps, grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it from the jaw bone and ligaments that hold it in place. Sometimes, a hard-to-pull tooth must be removed in pieces.
Once the tooth has been pulled, a blood clot usually forms in the socket. The dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket and have you bite down on it to help stop the bleeding. Sometimes the dentist will place a few stitches -- usually self-dissolving -- to close the gum edges over the extraction site.
Sometimes, the blood clot in the socket breaks loose, exposing the bone in the socket. This is a painful condition called dry socket. If this happens, your dentist will likely place a sedative dressing over the socket for a few days to protect it as a new clot forms.
Although having a tooth pulled is usually very safe, the procedure can allow harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. If you have a condition that puts you at high risk for developing a severe infection, you may need to take antibiotics before and after the extraction. Before having a tooth pulled, let your dentist know your complete medical history, the medications and supplements you take, and if you have one of the following:
After You've Had a Tooth Pulled
Following an extraction, your dentist will send you home to recover. Recovery typically takes a few days. The following can help minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed recovery.
Dental implants are an increasingly popular option for patients who have lost just one tooth. Essentially, a dental implant is a replacement tooth root. It is a small titanium post that is placed in the jaw bone under local anaesthetic or sedation, depending on patient preference. After a healing period of a few months, a crown or bridge can then be attached to the implant, looking and functioning just like a natural tooth.
One of the major advantages of dental implants over other options for tooth replacement is that they support bone growth, meaning they help to prevent the problem of bone loss that happens when you lose a tooth.
Another big advantage over traditional dental bridges is that no work is required on surrounding teeth. With a traditional bridge, support for a replacement tooth comes from crowns or wings on adjacent teeth. While this treatment is safe, it does weaken these teeth slightly. This is not an issue with dental implants because the replacement tooth is fully supported by the implant.
There are several reasons why it is important to replace a missing tooth. Particularly if the tooth was near the front of your mouth, any gaps can make you uncomfortable about smiling in public. But there are more than just aesthetic reasons for having dental implants fitted. Your other teeth may move into the gap, becoming crooked and more difficult to clean in the process, which can lead to further dental health problems. Over time, the bone beneath the gap will also start to recede. Because they are osteoconductive, dental implants help to prevent this.
Like your regular teeth, dental implants require good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist and hygienist. With proper care, your dental implants can last you for life.
To book an implant consultation, please contact a member of our reception team today.