As young children we look forward to losing our baby teeth. We know that this means two things; we will soon be transitioning into adulthood and who can forget the visit from the tooth fairy.
However, as adults we hope to keep our permanent teeth in tact for as long as possible, therefore a tooth extraction is not usually a part of our vocabulary. Teeth extractions are actually more common then we think, as there is more than one reason for a tooth extraction.
Many times someone will have what dentists refer to as a “crowded mouth”, in which case extractions can be made to make to room for other teeth to properly fit into the mouth. This usually happens as a pre-service to orthodontic procedures such as braces.
A dentist’s goal is to always save your teeth but in more serious cases, a tooth may be extracted due to infection. Most commonly, infection is caused by tooth decay, if left untreated, the damage can spread to the pulp (middle of tooth which harbors the nerves and blood vessels). Bacteria, that resides in the mouth can enter the exposed center of the tooth causing an infection. If this cannot be fixed by a root canal treatment, an extraction is necessary.
To many of us this seems like a scary procedure, however rest assured that this is something dental professionals perform on a daily basis. Usually, they will administer an anesthetic that will lull you to sleep. Upon awaking, the dentist will usually place gauze to help the area to clot and send you home with a mild pain reliever such as Ibuprofen.
After the area has healed, you and your dentist can talk about options of putting an implant in place if needed. These are usually made out of porcelain or other tooth-like material that resemble the feel and color of your real teeth.
Although no one wants to lose their tooth, this shouldn’t defer you from getting checkups and if this procedure is in order, it is always better to lose a tooth rather than have a full mouth of problems.