Tooth Extractions…. Not So Scary Anymore
By Dr. Joe D’Angelo & Dr. Ashley Olson
It is safe to say that no adult wants to get a tooth extracted. At least when we were kids, losing a tooth was a rite of passage, and the Tooth Fairy did help sweeten the deal. As adults, there is nothing appealing about the idea of getting a tooth extracted. Of course, there is the concern of possible discomfort. More troublesome for most adults is the reality that there may be a space that would look horrible. Also upsetting is the idea that we may be getting older, or that losing a tooth is some sort of personal failure. Too often, in a futile struggle to hang on to that nuisance tooth, dentists and patients have made repeated attempts at root canal treatments, gum surgeries, and crowns (none of which are much fun either!). At some point we just need to ask the question, “Is there a better idea?”
One of the most incredible advancements in dentistry is the Dental Implant. This treatment option is without question the most reliable and natural way to replace missing teeth. In addition to the fact that implant supported teeth look and feel completely natural, implants prevent the loss of bone and gum tissue contours that typically follow tooth loss.
So how does this change our approach to tooth extraction?
First of all, knowing that a reliable solution is available enables us to make better decisions. How much “dental heroism” should we attempt in trying to save a hopeless tooth? In the past, dentists and patients have invested excessive time and money, only prolonging the infection-induced, gradual deterioration of bone surrounding the tooth. This bone is the precious commodity that must be preserved to maintain the integrity of the mouth and provide options for tooth replacement.
When considering the implant option for tooth replacement, the technique for tooth removal becomes important. New instruments and techniques have led to methods that make tooth extractions far less traumatic. Referred to as Atraumatic Tooth Removal, these techniques are designed to remove the failing teeth with little or no trauma to the surrounding bone and gums. Atraumatic Tooth Removal is becoming a preferred method of tooth extraction for implant dentists because it greatly reduces pain and risk of infection while preserving healthy tissue and bone.
In some cases, immediate placement of the dental implant is possible. While good judgment on appropriate use of this approach is imperative, the potential for preserving the esthetic contours of the tissues in undeniable. When immediate implant placement is not indicated, a procedure called Ridge Preservation is typically recommended. This technique involves placing a scaffolding material in the socket to maintain its original bone and tissue contours. While new bone develops, this material is resorbed by the body. The result is a faster and more predictable healing period and a more esthetically pleasing restorative result.
At our office, we prefer Atraumatic Tooth Removal for the following reasons:
- Decreases or eliminates pain
- Reduces risk of infection
- Improves bone and tissue health
- Reduces number of required procedures
- Shortens treatment time
- Allows the entire procedure to be performed in one office
- Improves esthetics
While controlling the healing period to achieve the best long-term results, we must also address the concern of the unattractive space left behind when immediate implant placement is not a good option. Many options are available and we are very committed and compassionate in addressing this concern. Before any tooth extraction, we make it a priority to take the time with our patients to discuss the best option for dealing with the failing tooth and the options for providing an esthetic provisional tooth replacement.
In most cases these procedures can be performed painlessly with local anesthetic enabling patients to go home on their own or return to work right away. Sedation options are always available for patients who have anxiety about the treatment.
If you have any questions about tooth extractions, please visit http://JoeTheDentist.com or call us at 858-459-6224 to schedule your consultation.
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