Whenever appropriate, the dentists at La Jolla Family Smile Design try to preserve existing natural teeth for as long as possible. Extracting a tooth is usually a last resort, and considered only when the risks of keeping the tooth in the mouth are too great to ignore.
If you need a tooth extracted, our team will go above and beyond to make the process as quick, safe and comfortable as we can. We will also provide quality tooth replacement options that match the color, shape and size of your existing teeth so you do not have to worry about the appearance of a missing tooth.
When Is Tooth Extraction Recommended?
Tooth extraction may be recommended in the following situations:
- Severe decay – If a tooth suffers severe decay and becomes infected, extracting the tooth may be necessary to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Severe periodontal disease – Severe gum disease that has spread to the structures holding the teeth in place can cause teeth to loosen. Tooth extraction may be recommended as a potential solution.
- An impacted tooth – An impacted tooth is a tooth that is blocked from growing into the mouth. The most commonly impacted teeth are wisdom teeth at the back of the mouth. Impacted teeth that are at risk of damaging other teeth are often extracted.
- Severely injured teeth – Teeth that are badly broken or cracked due to trauma (e.g., a car accident or sports accident) are often extracted.
Tooth Extraction Procedure Details
There are two types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical.
A simple tooth extraction can be conveniently performed in our office in cases where the tooth is visible. The area around the tooth is numbed and one of our dentists uses an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth from its socket. Once the tooth is loose, the dentist uses forceps to remove it.
A surgical tooth extraction is more complicated as it involves a tooth that cannot be easily accessed. The affected tooth might not have “erupted,” or grown, into the mouth yet; or, it may have broken off at the crown. Surgical tooth extractions require the specialized knowledge and experience of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The surgeon creates an incision in the gums to access the tooth; then, depending on the tooth, it may be removed intact, or broken into smaller pieces to facilitate its removal. Surgical tooth extractions are performed with local anesthesia or general anesthesia.
Replacing an Extracted Tooth
At La Jolla Family Smile Design, we offer a range of tooth replacement options to restore a complete, healthy-looking smile. We will review the pros and cons of the available restorations with you to find the one that is right for your needs.
Many patients opt for a dental bridge, which literally bridges the gap between two existing teeth. Traditional dental bridges consist of an artificial tooth (“pontic”) supported on either side by a crown. The crowns fit over the teeth adjacent to the gap and the pontic fills the gap.
Another excellent tooth replacement option is a dental implant, which consists of an artificial tooth root and a lifelike crown. Implants do not rely on the surrounding teeth for support and help stimulate the jawbone beneath the missing tooth.
For more information about tooth extraction and tooth replacement options, please contact La Jolla Family Smile Design today.