We’ve all heard the expression about an unpleasant experience being “like pulling teeth.” There’s a reason. We’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who revels in the thought of having a tooth pulled even when they’re suffering from a horrible toothache.
A dental extraction is the recommended treatment for a variety of dental issues. Yet the mere thought of extraction keeps some patients from making the call to their dentist when they first notice tooth pain. Still others know they need to have a tooth pulled but put off the appointment until the pain is so bad they can’t stand it any longer. You may think: “Eventually the tooth will be pulled. What’s the big deal?”
A way to start looking at this question is to pose another one. If you knew you needed gall bladder surgery, for example, and you kept delaying having the surgery, are you risking your health? Logically, the answer to that question is a no-brainer, but for some reason we occasionally look at dental issues differently from medical issues. The truth of the matter is the scenarios are identical.
Shaun Alex, DDS, of District Cosmetic Dental shares his insights on the importance of expediting necessary dental extractions so that if you ever need a tooth pulled you can make an informed decision for your overall health.
The elephant in the room is that the goal of every reputable dentist is to help you keep permanent teeth healthy. Although there are many advances in dentistry to replace missing teeth, such as dental implants, nothing beats your own natural teeth. With that in mind, let’s take a look at why teeth are extracted in the first place so we can discover why delaying extractions not only doesn’t make sense, but also poses a risk to your health.
Putting off necessary dental extractions could:
Risk the spread of infection
The most common reasons for extracting a tooth are decay, disease, and injury. And one thing they all have in common is bacteria. Whether you have a cavity, gum disease, or a broken or chipped tooth from an accident, the clock is ticking on the spread of bacteria from the tooth to other parts of your body.
In some cases, tooth restorations like dental crowns can fix the problem, while in more severe cases a root canal treatment may be used to clean out and restore the diseased or injured tooth. When all these options have been exhausted, Dr. Alex uses a dental extraction to keep the bacteria from spreading infection throughout your body.
In the case of wisdom teeth, Dr. Alex recommends extracting them if they grow in crooked (impacted) or cause pain.
Undermine transplant or chemotherapy treatments
Patients receiving chemotherapy or undergoing an organ transplant have a compromised immune system. In this sensitive state, patients are more likely to develop dental infections or abscesses. For this reason, pulling teeth that show signs of decay or disease may be necessary to keep the medical treatments on track.
Delay needed orthodontics
In the case of a crowded mouth, Dr. Alex may look to dental extractions as a way to resolve the issue before fitting you or a loved one with braces. Aligning teeth isn’t merely an aesthetic treatment, though. Properly aligned teeth not only provide the optimal chewing and biting functions needed for eating and digestion, but they also stave off gum disease. When your teeth are straight, your gums fit snugly around the teeth, providing protection against gum disease.
Remember that dental extractions aren’t a simple issue of pain control. Time is definitely of the essence. Delaying the extraction can further compromise your health well beyond the original condition. If you’re suffering from a toothache or know you need a tooth pulled, contact Dr. Alex at District Cosmetic Dental in Washington, D.C., for a consultation. Book online or call today.