Tooth Extraction: To pull or save a painful tooth?


As a kid, losing a tooth was a rite of passage. You looked forward to a visit from the tooth fairy with the promise that another tooth would soon take its place. As an adult, tooth loss is hardly a cause for celebration, but sometimes tooth extraction is necessary for proper dental care.

There are many reasons to have a tooth extraction. Usually, if a tooth is too badly damaged, either from trauma or decay, then your dentist will suggest removing it. Other common reasons include:

A crowded mouth. Sometimes dentists pull teeth to prepare the mouth for braces. If your teeth are too big for your mouth or there is not enough room for your teeth to be pulled back into place, your dentist may recommend tooth extraction.

Infection. Some teeth may need to be extracted if they become a source of infection due to gum disease, cancer treatment or after an organ transplant. Infection can sometimes be corrected with root canal therapy (RCT), but if the infection is too severe, then tooth extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of the infection.

Wisdom teeth. Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth are often extracted either before or after they come in. Wisdom teeth often get stuck in the jaw (impacted) and cannot come in properly. This can lead to further problems, often causing gum irritation, pain and swelling. In this case, the tooth must be removed.

You should always consult your dentist first about whether tooth extraction is your best option or if a root canal can save the tooth.

Have you had a tooth extracted? Share your story with us in the comments below.


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