Signs That Indicate a Tooth Needs to Be Pulled

Many assume that a toothache automatically means it’s time to pull a tooth. However, pain alone is not a reliable indicator for tooth extraction. In fact, severe toothaches may not always necessitate extraction, and there are cases when painless teeth do need to be pulled. This article will highlight the key signs that signify a tooth requires extraction.

Insufficient Tooth Structure Above the Gums

To restore a tooth to its normal function and shape, there needs to be an adequate amount of tooth structure above the gums. Often, we come across teeth with crowns that break off, leaving very little exposed above the gums. These teeth could have undergone previous root canal treatments or none at all.

The same applies to teeth severely damaged by extensive decay. As decay progresses, it softens the enamel and dentin, resulting in a crumbly texture. Left untreated, cavities can spread throughout the entire tooth, leaving only the roots intact.

While it’s possible to attach crowns to posts that anchor within the tooth’s root, long-term success is unlikely. There is a high risk of the crown fracturing again in the future. In such cases, it is more beneficial to remove the remaining root(s) and replace the tooth with a dental implant. If you have a broken tooth that is level with the gums, it is advisable to have it pulled.

Recurrent Infections after Root Canal Treatments

Root canal treatments are performed to remove infected or injured nerve and blood vessels from a tooth’s hollow chamber. If a tooth that has undergone one or more root canal treatments becomes infected again, the success rate of further treatment decreases. With each subsequent treatment, the chances of success diminish further. Therefore, if you have a tooth that has had multiple root canal treatments and experiences another infection, pulling the tooth is recommended.

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Root Fracture

Nowadays, fractured teeth are becoming increasingly common, possibly due to the growing stress levels that cause people to clench or grind their teeth during sleep. Whatever the cause, cracked teeth are a daily occurrence. The severity of the crack determines the appropriate treatment. Superficial cracks may be treated with fillings or dental crowns. However, if the crack reaches the nerve inside the tooth, a root canal treatment and a crown are necessary. The most severe type of crack extends into the root.

A root fracture indicates a poor long-term prognosis for the tooth. The continuous contamination resulting from the fracture prevents any treatment from being successful in the long run. Therefore, if you have a root fracture, it is best to have the tooth pulled.

Excessive Tooth Looseness

The connection between teeth and jawbones relies on ligaments and gum tissue. Advanced gum disease can destroy this connection due to bacterial toxins present in plaque and tartar buildup. As a result, teeth become progressively looser over time, similar to how soil erosion can cause a tree to collapse eventually. Teeth require sufficient attachment to the bones to remain stable.

Mild to moderate gum disease responds well to treatment, allowing you to retain your teeth for many years. However, severe gum disease presents a challenge. If your teeth are so loose that you can easily “wiggle” them with tongue pressure, their long-term prognosis is unfavorable. It is nearly impossible to regain attachment in severely loosened teeth. Therefore, if your teeth are extremely loose, extraction is the recommended course of action.

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Dangerous Swelling

In certain cases, infections in and around the teeth can lead to dangerous swelling. As an infection spreads from the tooth to the surrounding gum and bone, it can cause swelling below the tongue, posing a significant risk to the airway. If the swelling becomes so severe that it obstructs the airway, it can be life-threatening.

The quickest way to address a dangerous infection like the one described above is to remove the affected tooth. While root canal treatments may sometimes salvage these teeth, there is still a slight risk of residual bacteria. To eliminate the infection as rapidly as possible, extraction is the preferred option.

Still Have Questions about Tooth Extraction?

Contact your closest Premier Dental of Ohio location today to schedule a consultation with one of our Central Ohio dentists. They can assess your specific situation and provide you with an expert opinion regarding the available treatment options.

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