Posted: June 9, 2011
You've heard it all before--brush, floss, get your teeth professionally cleaned. Those are the essentials for maintaining your oral health. You need to make them routine to avoid tooth decay, or cavities serious enough to eventually require the extraction of a tooth, or even teeth.
Alas, the tooth fairy rules only when you're still losing your baby teeth. After that, for a grownup, the loss of a tooth by extraction can be a rather traumatic experience. But that experience could be made easier if you understood why you'd need your tooth extracted in the first place. Extraction is basically the removal of a tooth from its bone socket, performed as a last resort in your dental treatment. There are times where your dentist is simply unable to fix a broken tooth, or badly decayed teeth, by using fillings or porcelain crowns. So, in those instances where the damage is too great for the tooth to be repaired, it will have to be extracted. This would also apply as well to a loose tooth that cannot be saved by the use of a bone graft.
The most common reason for tooth extraction is the growth of wisdom teeth or third molars. They need to be removed if they are decayed, cause pain or have a cyst or infection. In addition, wisdom teeth are often impacted--they are growing horizontally, or at a dangerous angle, crowding the teeth around them; they become stuck in the jaw and do not grow in properly. This can irritate the gum, causing pain and swelling. In this case, the tooth must be removed. However, in many instances, impacted teeth should be left alone and monitored at checking appointments.
There are other instances that might require tooth extraction. For example, it might be that your baby teeth did not fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in, or you have crowding, with extra teeth blocking other teeth from growing in. Or maybe you're getting braces and might need some of your teeth extracted to make room for the teeth that are being aligned by your braces. Whatever the case might be, when your dentist tells you that you need to have a tooth extracted, it is because there is nothing else they can do to assure that you keep all of your remaining teeth healthy and maintain a beautiful smile. In other words, it will be good for you!