My personal philosophy is to save a tooth when at all possible, so I am reluctant to extract a healthy tooth that does not pose any issues to the structural integrity and health of your mouth. Dentists cannot replace what mother nature has made, and often extracting a tooth, or teeth, has a domino effect on adjacent and opposing teeth, as well as your bone levels.
However, when an extraction becomes clinically necessary, it is typically for a very specific reason. If a tooth is so severely decayed or abscessed that no other treatment can cure the infection, then an extraction is obviously warranted. A tooth that is significantly damaged and broken down to the point that a crown cannot be placed will also need to be removed. Unfortunately, advanced periodontal disease results in the loosening of gum tissue around a tooth, and a loose tooth (as an adult) can create problems with chewing and infections. Finally, a tooth that is poorly positioned, causes crowding (which generally precedes orthodontic treatment), or wisdom teeth that are either partially erupted or impacted, should also be removed.
An extraction is done in a single appointment. Before removing the tooth, I will make sure that you are completely comfortable and a local anesthetic is applied to numb the area. You won’t feel any pain, only slight pressure as the tooth is removed – which is usually faster than the actual time it takes for you to numb up!
After the tooth has been removed, you may need a couple of stitches, if not, I will have you gently bite down on a gauze pad to stop any further bleeding. Generally, recovery only lasts a couple of days and any discomfort can be managed with ibuprofen. The only post-operative restrictions are related to smoking, brushing, sucking anything through a straw, and obviously to give up your pretzel/peanuts/popcorn habit for a few days.
We will refer you to one of the specialist offices that we work with in the case of more complex treatment or medical needs.