A tooth needs to be extracted or taken out when it has suffered extensive damage. This can be in the form of decay, fracture or infection of the nerve in the tooth. It can also be because of gum disease. Extractions have decreased dramatically over time. However, putting off visiting your dentist can increase your chances of needing an extraction. This is because if you wait until you have a toothache, the tooth can be in such a severe state that it can be difficult to save. Having done many extractions and conducted many follow-ups, I hear similar concerns after extractions. I have summarised these concerns for you below. Read on to find out the top 6 things people wish they knew before their tooth extractions. I hope this helps you to take action and book your 6 monthly checkup today – Riverstone Family Dental can be contacted on 8678 3538.
Saving the tooth
I wish I had seen my dentist sooner. The extraction could have easily been prevented. Basically I just needed to brush, floss, avoid sugary foods and visit my dentist twice a year. In the long run, this is cheaper and less painful than putting myself through having teeth taken out. I wish I knew how easy it can be to avoid having teeth taken out. One important and helpful piece of information is that decay and gum disease are preventable. There are some diseases that we cannot prevent such as some forms of cancer. However, if I knew that I could prevent disease in my mouth then I would have tried harder to prevent it. The problem is that you don’t know you have a problem until it is too late. Did you know that gum disease is silent? You will not always be aware that you have it until it has severely damaged the bone under the gum. Only then, will the teeth start to become loose and feel sore and at this point it may be too late to save these teeth.
Teeth grinding complications
I wish I had known that by grinding my teeth at night, I potentially could lose a tooth. I was not aware that you can create vertical cracks in a tooth root. Once this happens, the tooth can split in half and the only treatment for this is an extraction. If you grind your teeth at night, it doesn’t matter how hard you are brushing and flossing, you could end up losing your teeth if you keep placing excessive pressure on them at night. All I had to do was see my dentist and address the grinding. It means I now wear a nightguard (or a splint) before I go to sleep and get regular checkups at my dentist.
Cost of replacing a missing tooth
I wish I had factored in the cost of a dental implant or a bridge. In comparison, looking after my teeth would have been a lot cheaper in the long run. Often, when we are in pain, getting rid of the pain is top priority. Unfortunately, a decision made during this time can be emotionally driven and lead to regret later on. Unless your dentist takes the time to explain to you your options, you may feel extraction is the only solution. However, it is well worth discussing root canal treatment and the pros and cons of this versus taking the tooth out.
Root canal really isn’t that bad
Technology has come a long way in dentistry. I wish I knew that root canal these days is like having a filling. Once the tooth is numbed up, it is a simple process of cleaning inside the tooth. The success rates are about 80% so it is worth doing it in order to save an important tooth. You hear so much negative feedback about root canal treatment online and from other people who have had it years ago. However, I wish I knew that these days that has all changed.
Talk, eat and smile issues
Chewing and biting is a lot harder with missing teeth. I have started to favour one side when eating and now my jaw joint on that side clicks. This could lead to arthritic changes in this joint and start to get quite painful. You wouldn’t run on one leg so why chew on one side? Also eating on one side places a lot of pressure on the teeth on that side – they are not designed to do all the chewing. Doing this, places these teeth at a higher risk of getting issues such as cracks. I didn’t factor in how a missing tooth would affect my speech, appearance and confidence. When I smile, my cheeks look more sunken in and I’m not sure if I’m imagining things but I feel like this makes me look older. Moreover, I hate smiling really wide because I know people will see a small black gap and I can’t help but feel self-conscious about that.
Problems with gaps
Imagine if you had one of your fingers amputated. Clearly, your other fingers and thumbs would have to start compensating for this and you will start to over-use them or use them in new ways. Your teeth are the same. As you lose more and more teeth, other teeth will start to drift and rotate to compensate for this newly absent tooth. The teeth next to the gap may start to get sensitive as the gum heals and shrinks a little. You will be placing more pressure on the remaining teeth which could result in excessive wear, cracking and chipping. Additionally, food gets caught in large gaps caused by extractions and they can be tricky spots to clean.
In summary, it is worth preserving your own teeth because at the end of the day they function better than artificial teeth such as dentures, bridges and implants.
The trick is in maintenance.
See your dentist every 6 months for a checkup to ensure problems are tackled early. This will give you more options other than extractions. Need a dentist you actually enjoy seeing every 6 months? Call Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538 today!