In a perfect world, we would keep all of our natural teeth for our entire lives. However, sometimes circumstances beyond our control make that impossible. An infection or injury might necessitate a tooth extraction. What exactly is a tooth extraction, and when is it needed? Your dentist in Selden has the answers.
What Is a Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction is a procedure where your dentist removes a tooth from its socket in the jawbone. There are two main types of extractions:
- Simple extraction: This is used on a tooth that can be seen. The dentist will loosen the tooth and then use forceps to remove it.
- Surgical extraction: This is a more complex procedure that may be used if a tooth has not erupted or has broken off at the gumline. An oral surgeon will make an incision into the gumline to remove the tooth.
Should the Tooth Try and Be Saved?
Nothing looks, feels, or functions like your natural teeth. It might be tempting to wonder why you should bother saving a tooth if it’s in the back of your mouth and not visible when you smile. However, when you’re missing a tooth, your jawbone starts to shrink in that area. Eventually this can give your face a more sunken and older appearance. By saving your natural teeth, or replacing missing teeth with dental implants, you can look young for even longer.
Your dentist may try and save a damaged tooth with a root canal. This is the last step to try and save a tooth from extraction. In a root canal procedure, your dentist will remove infected or decayed parts of the inside layer of the tooth. Then he or she will place a crown over the tooth to protect it from further damage. Root canals are massively successful in prolonging the lifespan of a tooth.
Why Might a Tooth Need to Be Extracted?
If a tooth cannot be repaired with a root canal, crown, or filling, then extraction is the only option. An extraction may be needed for one or more of many reasons, including:
- Overcrowding of teeth in the mouth
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Excessive tooth decay
Whatever the reason for your tooth extraction, try and save it as much as you can. Ask your dentist to try a root canal to see if the tooth can be saved. If it can’t, then follow your dentist’s instructions for tooth extraction aftercare. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent extraction of even more teeth.
About the Author
Dr. Stephen Scotto-Lavino graduated from NYU’s School of Dentistry in 1982, and has been practicing dentistry in Selden, NY for more than three decades. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association, and the Suffolk County Dental Society. To learn more about how Dr. Scotto-Lavino might be able to save your tooth, contact him at (631)-698-9400.