When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?

Sometimes dental damage is so severe that extraction is necessary to restore oral health. Losing one or more teeth can cause functional, health, and aesthetic issues. Fortunately, there are many reconstructive dentistry treatments to restore your confidence and dental function. If you are faced with the possibility of tooth extraction, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Huntington dentist Robert J. Matlach to learn more about your treatment options.

Reasons for Tooth Extractions

Damage, whether from decay or injury, is the most common reason for tooth extraction. However, there are cases in which healthy teeth need to be pulled too. Tooth extractions may be necessary for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Tooth decay: In severe cases of tooth decay, there may not be enough healthy tooth left to treat the decay with a dental filling or crown.
  • Dental injury: Dental injury can lead to tooth extraction for different reasons. Sometimes injury, such as a sports injury, can break a tooth to the point that it can’t be saved.
  • Fillings and tooth breakage: Teeth with large cavities are especially vulnerable to breakage since the walls of the teeth are weakened. Teeth that are too fractured for dental crown treatment will need to be extracted.
  • Root canal infection: Root canal infections occur when tooth decay extends to the nerve and pulp tissue within the tooth's root canal. Root canal therapy can treat this infection, however, sometimes the damage is so severe that tooth extraction must be performed instead. 
  • Severe gum disease: Severe gum disease can lead to the need for tooth extraction as a result of gum and jawbone infection.
  • Overcrowding: In cases of overcrowding, healthy teeth may need to be removed to prevent misalignment or to allow for orthodontic treatment.
  • Wisdom teeth: Removing the wisdom teeth is another scenario in which healthy teeth my need removal. The wisdom teeth may be removed if they are impacted, cause pain, or likely to cause overcrowding.

Tooth Extraction Recovery

Successful recovery from tooth extraction begins with following your dentist’s directions and keeping your mouth clean. Here are some tips to help during the recovery process:

  • Don't smoke or use a straw to prevent dry socket: Dry socket happens when the blood clot within the extraction site comes out. You can reduce your risk of dry socket by avoiding smoking and not using a straw.
  • Gargle with salt water: Preventing infection is important to a speedy recovery. Warm salt water is a natural antiseptic and helps sooth the gums.
  • Soothe discomfort with an ice bag: Apply an ice bag to your cheek, along the jaw, to reduce swelling and pain after tooth extraction.
  • Eat soft foods: Avoid hard, crunchy foods that can poke and irritate the extraction site. Stick to soft foods like mashed potatoes and soups.
  • Don't skip brushing and flossing: Brushing and flossing are key to reducing plaque and bacteria buildup. Though it is important to brush and floss after tooth extraction, you will need to be gentle and take extra care to avoid irritating the extraction site.

Schedule a Consultation

To find out more about tooth extraction and your treatment options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Matlach today!