There are two different types of tooth extraction, referred to as simple extractions and surgical extraction. When teeth no longer have a functional place in your mouth or are damaged beyond repair, your dentist may recommend that you have them removed for your comfort and health.
What are the Indications for Tooth Removal?
One of the most common reasons for surgical extraction is for wisdom teeth removal. Wisdom teeth will need to be surgically removed if they are impacted or are improperly positioned to be able to erupt or function properly. It used to be thought that wisdom teeth need to be extracted so that your teeth will not crowd, shift, or cause orthodontic work to relapse. But, after decades of observing patients who have had wisdom teeth extracted and still have teeth shift, crowd, and orthodontic work relapse, research now shows that the same tendency exists whether the wisdom teeth are extracted or not.
Wisdom teeth should be extracted if there is not room for them to erupt properly because patients who have impacted wisdom teeth can develop cysts, abscesses, decay, or even cancer around their impacted wisdom teeth. It is best to have wisdom teeth extracted as soon as it can be determined that there is not room for them to erupt. It is best if there is some but not all of the root development completed. Research shows that patients do best when they have their wisdom teeth extracted before age 25. Next best is between 25-30 years of age. Over age 30, the risk to reward ratio of prophylactically removing impacted wisdom teeth is not as good.
It is not true that every time a wisdom tooth that is impacted is left in the jaw that there will be a problem. But the problems with extracting them later in life is much worse, more serious and happen often enough that it is better to have them extracted when you are younger. Then you are healthier, you heal better, the bone is less hard and dense, and there is more space around the teeth.
If you have experienced trauma to the teeth that have resulted in a tooth that is broken beyond repair, your dentist may feel that a veneer or crown will not provide a healthy permanent fix. After removal, you will want to ease any discomfort with ice and sooth the area with a salt water rinse.
Decay, Periodontal Disease, and Infection
If you have a progressive degree of gum disease or infection, your dentist may feel that you need to remove the tooth all together in order to restore your oral health. In most cases of decay and disease, the tooth can be repaired with a crown, filling, or root canal. However, if the decay is extensive your dentist may see removal to be the best option.
Extraction due to crowding is most common in early adolescence when braces and other forms of orthodontic work are done the most. Your dentist may suggest that you have certain extra teeth removed in order to make orthodontic work more effective and may even shorten the time braces or retainers need to be worn.
If you have a tooth that is bothering you or are curious about any of our dental and orthodontic services, contact our Grand Rapids office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Zwier.