Despite advances in dental technology and at-home oral care products, over two-thirds of all Americans aged 35 to 44 years old have lost at least one permanent tooth. That number jumps to an average of 12 for 50 year-olds.
It’s never fun to hear that you need a tooth pulled, but sometimes it’s necessary to restore and protect the overall health of your mouth. With the right care, our teeth can last a lifetime, but there are some instances where a tooth cannot be saved. Here are the four most common reasons that a dentist extracts a tooth.
The Tooth Is Too Decayed/Damaged
If a tooth is decayed and infected so badly that it is beyond the point of restoration with a root canal, crown, and other dental work, it will have to be extracted.
A tooth that completely breaks into two pieces often can’t be saved, in which case it will have to be pulled. Sometimes a tooth that has received repeating dental treatments through the years becomes weak and must be extracted.
The Tooth Is Impacted or Crowding Other Teeth
When a wisdom tooth can’t emerge because another tooth is blocking its path, this means it’s impacted. Sometimes the wisdom tooth may even be tilted so it’s literally lying sideways under the gums. In these cases, the tooth will have to be pulled before it can cause damage to surrounding teeth or trap decay.
Sometimes a tooth is pulled because it’s crowding the mouth or other teeth, or it’s a baby tooth that never fell out. A dentist may have to remove a tooth to make room in an overcrowded mouth and to allow an orthodontist to straighten out the remaining teeth.
The Tooth Is Dead
A tooth can “die” when it suffers an injury and the pulp is no longer feeding the tooth with a blood supply. This can happen when someone, usually an athlete, receives an injury to the mouth. Sometimes the tooth can be saved with a root canal but if not, the dentist will extract it.
Advanced stages of gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Sometimes a dentist will have to pull loose teeth in order to treat the periodontal disease.
What to Expect When Having a Tooth Pulled
Your dentist will give you a local anesthesia to numb the area of the affected tooth and sometimes a sedative to relax you. Sometimes an oral surgeon must perform the tooth extraction, especially in the case of impacted wisdom teeth.
After removing the tooth, the dentist will pack the socket with gauze and have you bite down on it. Sometimes a few self-dissolving stitches may be sewn into the extraction area.
Once 24 hours have passed after having a tooth pulled, its important to swish the area with warm salt water several times a day to prevent dry socket from happening. This is a very painful condition where the blood clot in the socket comes out and exposes the bone.
Once the area is healed, your dentist may recommend getting a dental implant to replace the missing tooth. This can prevent surrounding teeth from shifting out of place and to will restore your bite and smile.
Prevent Tooth Extractions
The best way to prevent having a tooth pulled is to practice good at-home oral care and see your dentist every six months to catch any problems with your teeth while they are small. Make an appointment with us to help keep your smile healthy and bright.