While tooth extraction is becoming less common with modern advances in dentistry, there are still some cases where the damage to a tooth is too great and the only option is to have it pulled. Here are some dental problems that can make tooth extraction a necessary procedure.
A tooth is said to be impacted when its growth is obstructed and it cannot fully emerge from the gums. Impaction is a common problem with wisdom teeth, although it can happen to any tooth depending on your dental anatomy and genetic factors that affect the development of the teeth. Dental arches that are too small for all teeth to grow in straight are the usual cause of impacted teeth. In some cases, a tooth will grow in at the wrong angle and become impacted no matter how much room is available.
Impacted teeth must usually be extracted because of the risk of damage that they pose to the surrounding teeth. Impacted teeth exert pressure on their neighbors until the impacted tooth or a neighboring tooth begins to crack. Eventually, the damage can become so severe that the pulp is exposed and infection begins to set in.
Dental pulp is the living connective tissue inside of your teeth. When dental pulp becomes exposed through a crack in the enamel, the bacteria in your mouth will begin to decompose it. Dental pulp can be exposed by damage from causes such as impacted teeth, untreated cavities, and dental trauma. A dental filling that re-seals the enamel is the best way to protect the pulp of a damaged tooth, but this must be done quickly before the pulp is infected.
A root canal can sometimes save a tooth with infected pulp, removing the need for it to be removed. During a root canal, a dentist will scrape out the decayed pulp material and replace it with a rubber compound known as gutta-percha. The hole in the enamel that was used to access the pulp, as well as any cavities in the enamel, are then sealed with dental fillings.
Unfortunately, advanced cases of pulp decay may render a root canal ineffective, leaving extraction as the only option. This is because the infection in the dental pulp can eventually escape through the root of the tooth and into the surrounding jaw bone when enough of the pulp has decayed away. This condition is known as a dental abscess. Large abscesses require the tooth to be removed and a hole to be created in the dental socket to drain the infection out of the jaw bone.
If you notice signs of dental problems such as tooth pain, cavities, or persistent bad breath, be sure to visit a dentist like Edens Greg DMD as soon as possible to minimize the chance that you will have to have a tooth extracted.