A Guide to Gentle and Precise Tooth Removal
At Downtown Dental, we get individuals throughout the Cleveland, Ohio, area out of pain in the short term. Over the long term, our skilled and kind dentist, Dr. Tony Lu, preserves or restores the health, structure, appearance, and function of a tooth that has been irreparably damaged.
When Extraction is on the Horizon
Extraction or tooth removal is typically considered a “last resort” procedure. We partner with patients to ensure their teeth remain healthy and free of decay or disease: the leading causes of tooth loss. When restorative care is needed, we conserve as much natural tissue as possible. There is no tooth or oral tissue superior in function to natural teeth or tissues.
Dr. Lu may determine that tooth removal is appropriate if:
- A severely inflamed or infected tooth is not a good candidate for root canal therapy
- The tooth fails to heal following root canal therapy, root canal retreatment, and/or surgical endodontic treatment
- A tooth is severely broken and cannot be repaired
- Orthodontic treatment is needed, and there is insufficient space to reposition the teeth properly
- The last teeth to develop, third molars or “wisdom teeth,” become partly or completed trapped in the jaw
The last example, wisdom teeth, are an exception to the rule about extraction as a “last resort” procedure. These molars at the very back of the mouth are vestigial structures. Early humans needed these teeth to grind down very chewy foods. We no longer need these teeth for healthy function. And since they develop so late, often people do not have sufficient room in their mouths to accommodate them.
Tooth removal is generally characterized as either a “simple” procedure or a “surgical” one. A simple extraction involves loosening the affected tooth. It is then lifted gently from the socket. While the tooth and surrounding jawbone and gums are numbed with local anesthetic for utmost comfort, it is not unusual to feel some pressure as Dr. Lu rocks the tooth back and forth to aid in loosening it from its socket.
Simple, nonsurgical extractions may be possible among those teeth that are partly or completely visible and intact above the gums. The surgical alternative is necessary for teeth that are broken, not intact, or trapped in the jaw (as is the case with impacted wisdom teeth). The surgical process involves accessing the tooth through small incisions. We use gentle and precise techniques and specialized instruments to efficiently and comfortably remove the tooth. We are also happy to discuss relaxing sedative options to ensure the most pleasant experience at our office.
In some cases, teeth must be removed in sections. This “sectioning” is a great way to quickly and effectively remove a tooth stubbornly anchored in the jaw or whose roots are curved (the socket will not, in turn, sufficiently expand for us to remove it).
The Oral Health Journey
As partners in your oral health, Dr. Lu and the team at Downtown Dental provide clear and detailed information on treatment alternatives, what to expect, and pre-and post-treatment care. For instance, if extractions are necessary, we discuss options to promptly replace the missing tooth as needed using a dental implant. Bridges and implant-supported teeth in the jaw prevent complications of tooth loss, such as shifting as other teeth move toward the gap and bone resorption.
Call (216) 616-1155 to schedule an appointment at our office in downtown Cleveland (by Heinen’s!). For your convenience, you may also request an appointment online or book a virtual consultation with Dr. Lu. We will see you soon!