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Tooth Extraction To Restore Oral Health
For some people, tooth extraction can prevent health complications or help prepare patients for important dental treatments. There are many scenarios where tooth removal is the ideal approach for better oral health and an improved patient outcome.
Reasons for tooth extraction
Different situations may require the removal of a baby or permanent tooth. Failure to do so can lead to severe issues, from pain and discomfort to life-threatening infections. A dental professional can help guide patients towards the most appropriate treatment plan based on the surrounding circumstances and medical history.
Excessive decay or infection
When tooth decay is mild or moderate, various treatment options can be used to remove the diseased tissue and repair the surrounding area. For many patients, a filling or crown is all that is needed to restore the affected tooth. In the case of infection, a root canal may be performed to treat the affected pulp. However, when decay or infection is severe and the tooth is beyond repair, it may be necessary to remove it altogether to prevent serious complications.
Sometimes, a tooth extraction is needed to help relieve overcrowding in a patient's mouth. This can lead to alignment issues, resulting in:
- Crooked teeth
- Jaw fatigue and pain
- Poor bite patterns
In some patients, baby teeth that have not fallen out in a timely manner may be pulled to prepare for braces. Others may have permanent teeth removed to better accommodate a smaller-than-average mouth.
Severe injury or trauma
A sudden or strong impact can lead to chips, cracks, or breaks in teeth. For many patients, crowns, veneers, or dental bonding can restore the damaged tooth for a functional and natural-looking result. However, if the damage is severe and affects the root or pulp, tooth extraction may be required. Otherwise, a patient may experience severe pain, continued damage, and potential infection.
In some situations, having a tooth pulled is a purely precautionary measure. Dentists may elect to remove infected or decayed teeth in patients who are at a higher risk for infections and complications. These may include cancer and chemo patients or those with compromised immune systems.
Extraction procedure and recovery
Depending on the state of the affected tooth, the extraction process may vary from patient to patient. Exposed teeth can often be pulled with dental tools and appliances, while impacted teeth may require surgery. If a tooth is severely decayed or damaged, the tooth may be removed in pieces.
After the procedure, patients should rest for the next day or so and should take care to promote proper healing. Gauze must be changed as needed to control bleeding and patients should avoid spitting or drinking through a straw to prevent dry sockets. Ice packs and pain medication can be used as directed to reduce discomfort and swelling. After recovery, bridges, veneers, or braces can be used to restore a full, functional smile.
When necessary, a tooth extraction can help promote oral health and improve overall well-being. Though the process can cause some discomfort, recovery is relatively swift with proper home care. After complete healing, patients may be able to undergo additional treatments for a healthier, more beautiful smile.
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