Occasionally it may be necessary to remove a tooth. There are many reasons this may be necessary. Sometimes extracting a tooth is part of an emergency appointment to relieve pain, but it otherwise may be a decision to remove a tooth for a number of reasons, including:
- A large cavity causing pain and/or infection
- An alternative to more expensive treatments to restore a tooth
- Removing a tooth with a poor prognosis in order to replace it with something more durable such as an implant, bridge, or denture
- Removing teeth to make space for orthodontics in order to correct crowding teeth
- Removing baby teeth that are not exfoliating properly on their own
Whatever the reason that you may need a tooth pulled, it’s important to know that it doesn’t have to be a scary, painful experience. Most routine extractions can be performed under local anesthesia, similar to having a filling placed. With proper care and technique, it should be easy, quick, and pain free; however there will be some sensation of pressure. Let us know if you are anxious about this treatment, and we will discuss your options.
Sometimes a tooth is more difficult to remove than a routine extraction and may require surgical techniques like sectioning the tooth into 2 or 3 pieces in order to remove them separately. Sectioning a tooth might also be done to avoid fracturing a root tip in the socket or causing damage to the bone.
Surgical extractions might also involve strategically removing some bone around the root to access the tooth or to make space for the root to move. This may or may not also require cutting the gums to pull them back for visibility and access.
Cost of the Procedure
A surgical extraction is more expensive than a routine extraction due to the more complicated procedure. We don’t always know if an extraction will be surgical or simple (routine) until we get started, so be sure you understand the potential for a higher cost at the time of the procedure. Wisdom tooth extractions are usually surgical for the lower wisdom teeth and can be more expensive still if they are impacted under the gums, or under the bone. The point here is that not all extractions are the same, and you should talk to your dentist if you have any questions.
Although rare, there are certain complications to be aware of if you need a tooth extracted. These vary depending on:
- which tooth is being extracted,
- your individual health history, and
- your compliance with post-surgical instructions.
These potential risks should be discussed before you give consent for the procedure.
It may be possible to save the tooth rather than removing it. Please make sure you are fully aware of any possible alternatives by discussing it with your dentist and staff. If finances are the only issue, please let us know so we can try to work something out. We are not in the business of pulling teeth as a first resort, and we care about providing the best treatment available for your situation.
Replacing the Missing Tooth
After an extraction, it is a good idea typically to replace the tooth with some type of restoration. These options should be discussed with the dentist and staff. Not replacing the tooth might be tolerable for some people, but problems could occur, including teeth shifting into the space, which can cause problems with your bite, gums, and hygiene. Some options for replacing the tooth are:
- Stayplate (AKA flipper, or interim partial denture) – this is a temporary removable appliance to replace a tooth while the bone and gums are healing.
- Implant – a dental implant may be the best option to replace a single tooth. It is a titanium post that is placed in the bone like the root of a tooth. After it heals, your dentist will place a crown on top, and from that point forward it will look and feel like a normal tooth.
- Bridge – a bridge is a restoration that uses the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth to make 3 or more crowns splinted together to span the empty space. This is not removable and is cemented in place.
- Partial or Complete Denture – This is a removable option that is a long-term solution. Typically this is a more affordable option to replace 2 or more missing teeth, although it could also be used to replace one tooth in some cases.
The solution that works best for you will be dependent on your individual case and should be evaluated by your dentist and discussed with you.
Please see our page on Instructions for care of the mouth following oral surgery.