No More Natural Teeth: Deciding Between Implants and Dentures

3 Reasons You May Need A Dental Extraction

by Jeremiah Barnett

Dental extractions are typically a last resort in terms of dental treatment. Whenever possible, your dentist wants to preserve as much of your natural tooth, since teeth can't repair themselves or regrow like your bones do. However, sometimes an extraction is the best course of action. Here are three reasons you may need to have a tooth extracted:

1. Your wisdom teeth are growing in.

Most people are born with four wisdom teeth that begin to grow in adolescence. Some people have enough room in their mouths to accommodate these extra teeth, but for others, wisdom teeth can crowd their molars. Tooth crowding is a serious concern that can lead to crooked teeth, pain, and difficulty chewing. Wisdom teeth can also grow in sideways, leading to impacted teeth. This can crack or damage nearby teeth. If your wisdom teeth are growing in, x-rays can let your dentist know if extraction is the best option for you.

2. Your teeth are infected or at risk for an infection.

Teeth can get infected just like other parts of your body. Infection is caused by bacteria that works its way beneath your gum line and into the roots of your teeth. In some cases, tooth infection can be treated by antibiotics and root canal treatment. In cases of severe infection, you may need to have the affected teeth extracted. Severe tooth infections can be caused by cancer treatment, since chemotherapy can suppress your immune system. According to Colgate, precautionary extraction may be necessary if you've had an organ transplant, since tooth infection may become more likely if you're on immunosuppressant drugs.

3. You need braces.

If you have an overbite, underbite, or misaligned teeth, braces can give you the straight smile you've always wanted. Your orthodontist will carefully plan your treatment to move all your teeth into the desired position. However, depending on the size of your mouth, there may not be room for all your teeth in their new, straightened configuration. In some cases, your orthodontist may extract one or two teeth before applying your braces. This can create room to prevent overcrowding as your teeth move.

Tooth extraction can be performed using local or general anesthetic. If you have dental phobias, you may prefer being completely asleep for the procedure, although general anesthesia carries some additional risks. After your surgery, you'll be instructed to be careful when chewing and to take antibiotics to make sure the site of your extraction doesn't get infected.