The first time I went for my tooth extraction, I was so surprised at how simple the process was! Sure I was really nervous went I saw the huge tooth extraction forceps but honestly, my tooth was out before I knew it and it wasn’t painful at all (thanks to anaesthesia and my skilful dentist).
That being said, my dentist told me that I was lucky to have sought help in time before my situation worsened. Moreover, it just so happened that my infected tooth did not require surgery.
From this experience, I realised that many of us are hesitant and unsure when to visit the dentist/specialist for treatments for dental problems perhaps due to fear and poor self-diagnosis so I’ve decided to share this post about when would be the best time and who you should seek help from for tooth extractions and dental problems.
Figure 1: Tools for tooth extraction (Pinho, 2017)
Types of Tooth Extractions
There are 2 types of tooth extractions. Firstly, we have simple extractions which is when the tooth to be extracted is visible above the gum line and can be removed directly with extraction forceps.
Next we have surgical extractions which is when gum tissue or bone needs to be removed for tooth extraction and stitches are needed to close up the site.
When You Might Need Surgical Tooth Extractions or a Specialist/Oral Surgeon
Contrary to its name, not all surgical extractions must be conducted by oral surgeons and specialists, in many cases, an experienced dentist will do the job just fine. That being said, while receiving treatment from specialists and oral surgeons are not 100% necessary all the time, here are some cases where you might prefer or need their expertise:
- Complex Facial Structure
- Large sinuses, limited jaw mobility and odd positioning of teeth may make it difficult for a dentist to perform the extraction without causing discomfort. Therefore, it may be a better idea to seek treatment from a specialist/oral surgeon.
- Complicated Extraction Process
- Certain types of extractions such as cracked/broken tooth, impacted wisdom tooth and dental emergencies are much more complex thereby requiring more intensive surgery and a higher level of skill which is only satisfied by a specialist/oral surgeon.
- Dental Anxiety
- For patients that prefer to be unconscious during the extraction, general anaesthesia is needed. While sedation can be administered by both dentists and oral surgeons, perhaps one would feel more at ease in the hands of a specialist.
Dental Problems That Could Lead to Tooth Extractions
- Severe Tooth Decay
- Untreated cavities can lead to the permanent damage of tooth. In the case where damage is before repair, the severally damaged tooth needs to be extracted due to risks of causing infection to the gums and mouth.
- Symptoms include: Toothache, tooth sensitivity, bad breath and bad taste in mouth.
- Severe Gum Disease
- Gum disease (also known as gingivitis) is the inflammation of the gums. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis which is a more serious gum infection which can cause infection of the teeth, jaw and bones. Infected teeth may then need to be extracted to stop worsening of spread.
- Symptoms include: Swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, presence of pus, loose teeth, chewing pains and receding gum line.
- Cracked or Broken Tooth
- Cracked/Broken tooth are very painful and can cause injury to the mouth when chewing food. Additionally, if left untreated, could lead to infections due to the increased risks of tooth decay and gum disease. Therefore, there is a need for cracked and broken teeth to be removed.
- Symptoms include: Chewing and biting pains and pains when eating foods that are cold/hot.
- Impacted Wisdom Tooth
- An impacted wisdom tooth is one that is partially/not erupted through the gums. This can cause an array of problems as shifting and damage to neighbouring teeth as well as growth of cysts and tumours under the gums thus a need for the impacted wisdom tooth to be removed.
- Symptoms include: Swollen or bleeding gums, jaw ache, jaw swelling, presence of pus, bad breath and bad taste in mouth.
Importance of Seeing a Dentist/Specialist When Faced with Dental Problems
It is intuitive to us that if problems are not solved, consequences will arise. This is the same for dental problems. If you continually push aside the idea for treatment you can risk permanently ruining your teeth and beautiful smile. Additionally, studies conducted reveals a correlation between poor oral health and getting other health illnesses (Healthline, 2014).
Oral bacteria and infections can spread to your bloodstream which can cause endocarditis (the inflammation of the heart lining) and other heart diseases. These are life-threatening conditions that endangers your safety leaving you in a vulnerable state. Please do not treat your dental problems lightly, if you suspect that you have any of the above mentioned problems or exhibit any aforementioned symptoms please seek help as soon as possible.
Here at Vivid Dental Surgeons, we aim to educate our patients on matters regarding oral hygiene and health. We hope that this article gave you clarity regarding the topic of dental problems and tooth extractions.
If you are still unsure or is worried about any parts of the procedure, be sure to voice out your concerns to your dentist. Only by exercising good communication will you be able to receive the most optimal treatment. Should you have any more questions regarding dental problems, tooth extractions or other oral health related matters, feel free to drop Dr Ryan a message here.
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Dr Ryan and the Vivid Dental Team wishes everyone a pleasant day ahead!