The International Dental Journal recently conducted a study on the most prominent reasons behind tooth extractions. The published report states that orthodontic issues (misaligned teeth) comprised 2.5% to 7.2% of extraction cases.
On the other hand, 55.3% of the respondents stated that they had to remove their teeth due to general oral infections, cavities, and gum diseases.
The implications here are clear: Surgical extractions are a crucial tool to preserve dental integrity in most cases.
But how do you know if you need to opt for such procedures? Well, this article will explain everything you need to know about the mentioned conditions. Even better, there’ll be a brief examination of how you can prepare for these treatment methods. Let’s dive right in!
Three critical cases that require a tooth extraction
Some issues that lead to you needing a tooth extraction are entirely out of your control. For instance, you cannot do anything to prevent a molar from getting impacted. However, good oral hygiene and frequent dental visits can help you avoid most oral issues.
Nevertheless, here are the three most clinically severe issues that may require such surgical procedures:
1. Impacted and crowded teeth
Two of the most common reasons for a surgical extraction are tooth impaction and overcrowding. And it’s essential to understand the difference between the two.
Impaction involves the misplacement or a shift in the position of a tooth. This usually occurs in the third set of molars (wisdom teeth) and typically results in the inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue.
Conversely, crowding refers to the growth of multiple teeth in a particular area, leading to a lack of space between them.
While both conditions have distinctive characteristics, individuals suffering from such complications experience a throbbing and painful sensation around the affected area. Consequently, dentists resort to removing the tooth entirely to solve the issue.
2. Severe tooth decay and infections
Several factors lead to decaying teeth and oral infections, with some of the most prominent causes being:
- A lack of oral hygiene
- Extensive plaque formation
- Excessive consumption of foods rich in starch and sugar
Often, individuals may also develop abscesses in their teeth. In such situations, the patient may notice a pus-filled cavity in the affected molar. If left unchecked, such conditions can lead to breakage in the cavity root. Once that happens, isolating treatment for the damaged tooth becomes immensely challenging. Simply put, patients will need to get multiple molars removed.
A simple way to avoid such issues is to consult a dentist periodically, preferably once every six months.
3. Gum diseases
Gum diseases are the most severe types of oral complications caused by bacterial build-up. It’s essential to note that while these conditions are closely related to tooth decay, they may occur independently in some cases. For instance, someone with poor oral hygiene may suffer from gum infections without actually having decaying teeth.
However, once an individual develops such diseases, it can have a cascading effect on overall dental health.
Now, medical experts classify such clinical issues into two kinds, namely:
- Periodontal disease
Gingivitis serves as an initial infection characterized by swollen and discoloured gums. If left untreated, it progresses into periodontitis, a severe issue that damages the underlying soft tissue and the bone sockets in the jaw.
Healthcare providers can treat mild to moderate cases of gingivitis through an oral cleaning session.
When else is a tooth extraction necessary?
While not commonly known, facial injuries may often cause a tooth to fracture at the crown or the root. If dentists deem the damage to be mild, they may rely on dental bonding or veneers to fix the issue. However, in most cases, the typical clinical remedy involves an extraction. So, consider visiting a dentist if you have experienced recent physical trauma.
In addition, you must seek an immediate oral examination if you notice any of the following:
- Sensitivity or pain in the gum tissue
- Loose teeth
- Recurrent bleeding during brushing or flossing
The listed issues do not necessarily indicate a need for tooth extraction. However, they may be a symptom of a more severe underlying problem. As such, it is always better to consult a dentist and understand the nature of the condition to avoid future problems.
How can you prepare for such surgical procedures?
Dental care providers often attempt to save a patient’s natural teeth through remediation methods such as fillings or crowns. However, these medical techniques are ineffective if a tooth is damaged beyond repair. In these circumstances, a surgical extraction is the only viable way to prevent additional oral complications.
Typically, such procedures will begin with a thorough examination of the extent of tooth damage, gum condition, and jaw bone density or loss. To aid in this step, ensure you inform your dentist regarding any current medication or supplement intake.
Following this, if your healthcare provider notices that you suffer from anxiety regarding surgical procedures, they may recommend sedation. This offer primarily involves:
- Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
- Oral Sedation (Pills such as diazepam, triazolam, lorazepam)
- Intravenous (IV) Drips
It’d be helpful to choose the first listed option if you are mildly nervous about the process. Concurrently, oral and IV sedation can benefit those with severe anxiety. When selecting such options, ensure that you have a companion to drive you to and from the clinic.
Besides these details, there’s nothing else that you need to do to prepare for a tooth extraction. Your dentist will inform you in case other issues require further discussion.
Attend to your oral health
Your oral hygiene determines the kind of dental complications you develop. As harsh as that statement may sound, it still is the objective truth. So, try to adopt better habits when it comes to taking care of your teeth. However, that doesn’t mean you leave things at brushing twice daily or flossing a little more often. It’d be best if you also supplemented everything with guidance from medical professionals.
Understandably, you may have some apprehension about surgical extraction. If that’s the case, you must remember this: Such treatment methods are a much better alternative to losing all your teeth.