While every dentist’s goal is to help each patient keep his or her teeth for a lifetime, there may come a time when a tooth cannot be saved and needs to be removed. The process of tooth extraction always begins by administering a local anesthetic to numb the area. In addition, some patients also opt for nitrous oxide (aka “laughing gas”) to relax them and put them at ease. As a result of modern, state-of-the-art instruments, extractions are often quick and painless. This means no one has to put their knee on your chest like in the old days!
After a tooth has been extracted, the tooth can be replaced by either a dental implant, bridge, or removable partial denture. It is important to always replace a tooth after extraction. First, once that tooth is missing, you obviously won’t be able to chew as well. Second, neighboring and opposing teeth can start to tilt or drift as a result of the new space, which can have a negative effect on your bite.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, frequently require surgical removal. Wisdom teeth more often than not don’t erupt (or “come in”) in an ideal fashion, which can lead to several issues. Frequently, wisdom teeth won”t come in at all, which are called “impacted wisdom teeth”, because they are trapped under the gum and bone and aren’t able to come in like your other teeth. Often they are positioned at a steep angle, which can put pressure on the remaining teeth, causing them to move and become crowded, even after someone has undergone orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth.
Even when they do come in properly, wisdom teeth are very difficult to keep clean as a result of being positioned so far back in the jaw. This frequently results in tooth decay or gum disease on or around these teeth, or the second molar teeth, which is the tooth in front of it.
In many cases, for an adult whose wisdom teeth are all erupted and functioning just like other teeth and who have thus far been able to keep them clean, it is still advisable to have them removed as a preventive measure. The logic is that it is always safer and easier to have the wisdom teeth removed when one is as young and healthy as possible, and when a patient reaches old age, their dexterity is not as good, which compromises their ability to keep these teeth clean. Additionally, older patients’ medical situations are generally more complicated, including taking several medications, being more frail, etc. and these circumstances put them at more of a risk for surgery than when they were younger. Under local anesthesia (aka numbing) and nitrous oxide (aka “laughing gas” or twilight), you will be relaxed and comfortable during the procedure.