Your teeth are a critical component of your mouth. While small, they have several important responsibilities. Along with biting and chewing, the teeth aid in proper speech, the health of your jawbone, and providing you with a gorgeous smile. The teeth are the strongest substance in the human body and can withstand a lot of daily wear and tear, but they are not indestructible. When your teeth are damaged, whether from decay, trauma, or another issue, we do everything we can to treat and restore them. However, when the damage is too severe, the affected teeth may be unsalvageable, no matter what restorative treatments are tried. In such cases, an extraction may be in your best interest. Trail Ridge Dental in Longmont and Johnstown can perform this procedure, and then discuss your options for tooth replacement.
Extractions are not the First Choice
Extractions are never the first choice for us at Trail Ridge Dental. Having a missing tooth not only takes away from your great smile but can cause bone loss in your jaw. Because of this, we try to do extractions in a way that lessens the potential for bone loss and give you choices after the extraction to limit the possibility of bone loss.
Before determining the best course of action for your teeth, we first conduct a thorough oral evaluation. We visually inspect your teeth, taking note of all of the damage that we can see. We take a close look at your gum tissue, looking for signs of infection.
Dental X-rays may also be recommended, which can allow us to see if there is any damage hidden below the gum line. With your exam, we can consider different restorations. If we determine that nothing will be effective, we then determine to remove the affected teeth.
Treating Damaged Teeth
Treating damaged teeth quickly is essential, not just for restoring the appearance of the affected teeth, but for protecting your oral health as well. When you let damage, particularly severe damage, go untreated, your affected teeth are put at greater risk for both further damage as well as painful infections. In many instances, damaged teeth can be restored using dental implants and/or crowns. These restorations protect the teeth from further harm, prevent infections, and provide strength. Cavity damage can often be restored using fillings.
Sometimes Extraction is Necessary
However, in the event that the damage is too severe, crowns and fillings may be ineffective. If this is the case, you may then be recommended for an extraction.
Reasons for Tooth Extraction
Reasons for tooth extractions include:
- Cracks that start in the crown of the tooth and extend below the gum line.
- Damage that is solely below the gum line.
- The tooth is split completely in half.
- A shattered tooth.
- Severe tooth decay.
- Advanced gum disease.
- Impacted teeth.
Types of Tooth Extractions
There are two ways in which teeth can be extracted.
The first is a simple extraction. This type of extraction is done under a local anesthetic. The affected teeth are gripped with forceps and moved back and forth gently yet firmly. This movement puts pressure on the periodontal ligaments, widening the socket. With the socket wide enough, the tooth is lifted free.
The second type of extraction is a surgical extraction. This type of extraction, used in more complex situations, is done under a local anesthetic as well as sedation. Incisions are made in the gums to expose the teeth below. Any obstructions blocking the teeth are removed. The affected teeth are then removed. If they are broken or shattered, we take care to remove all fragments. The area is then cleaned before the gums are stitched closed.
Replacing Teeth After Extraction
The alveolar ridge bone is a special type of bone that is around your teeth and its only purpose is to support your teeth. Once a tooth is extracted the bone starts to degenerate. The socket becomes smaller than it was when the tooth was in place. Dental implants are the best choice for replacing missing teeth and avoiding bone loss. Sometimes dental implants may not be the best choice for you. In this case, partial or full dentures will need to be put in place. Some bone degeneration will take place but not as much as if the missing tooth was not replaced at all.
Learn More About Tooth Extraction
If the damage to your teeth is too severe, your best option may be an extraction followed by a tooth replacement. If you have any questions, or need to schedule a consultation, call Trail Ridge Dental in Longmont (303-772-6960) or Johnstown (970-593-1010).