How Can I Tell I Need an Extraction?


When you’re suffering from tooth pain, it can be pretty frustrating. Many people say that tooth pain is the worst kind of pain possible, and it’s true that it’s uniquely awful. The good news is that you don’t need to keep dealing with tooth pain — in fact, you’ll be much happier both now and in the long term if you take action to find out the reason for your tooth pain right now. You may be wondering if you need an extraction, which is a common question when anyone has tooth pain. You might be surprised to learn that extraction isn’t always the solution — and it’s actually not even the solution most of the time. Here’s what you should know.

When is Extraction Not the Answer?

If you’re dealing with an infection due to serious decay, which is one of the most common reasons for tooth pain, you need to see the dentist for evaluation now. The odds are good that you can catch the problem early enough to avoid an extraction. In many cases, the cause of the pain is inside the tooth. The pulp, the inner soft tissue that you can’t see, causes serious pain when it’s infected.

Your dentist may recommend a root canal procedure in this scenario. In a root canal, your dentist removes the infected tissue and then strengthens your hollowed-out inner tooth area with a safe and sterile putty-like material called gutta percha. After that, your dentist usually seals the tooth and places a dental crown on top of it. Once your custom crown is in place, you’ll be able to use your tooth pain-free once again.

It’s always best to preserve the tooth whenever possible. If you were to remove a tooth due to infection, you’d be left with a gaping hole in your mouth. Very quickly after that, your other teeth will begin to naturally shift to take over this gap. Unfortunately, this means that your teeth may very soon have serious alignment problems. In order to prevent this, a dental implant is usually the best option. However, a dental implant requires more time and more money — in this situation, saving the natural tooth with a root canal is usually the cheaper and easier option.

Another time that extraction’s not the answer is cracks and chips. Both cracks and chips can allow an entry point for harmful bacteria, and you may assume that extraction is the best solution. However, you can often preserve your natural tooth with a dental crown. A crown is manufactured based on a precise mold of your mouth, which means that it fits on top of your tooth perfectly. Crowns completely envelop the tooth, keeping the damaged area (the crack or the chip) safe and preventing bacteria from getting into your tooth. A new crown is much less expensive than a whole new dental implant — which is something you’d have to get if you went with the extraction instead.

When is Extraction the Answer?

The bottom line is that extraction is the answer only in certain specific situations. Wisdom teeth removal is perhaps the most common example. Your wisdom teeth aren’t necessary for chewing or anything else, and in fact they can cause many problems for the other teeth in your mouth if they erupt in the wrong way. By extracting your wisdom teeth, you can prevent unwanted teeth shifting, jaw pain, and many other problems. Your dentist may recommend extraction before eruption if your wisdom teeth are positioned badly.

In rare cases of severe tooth decay, an extraction may be needed. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough healthy tooth left to preserve. However, your dentist at Bonham Dental Arts will make every effort to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible.

Looking for a gentle and caring dental care provider? Bonham Dental Arts is here for you. Get in touch with us anytime to schedule your appointment.