Tooth extraction (pulling) should always be considered as a last resort. However, sometimes, if the tooth has been damaged through significant trauma or decay, a tooth extraction is advisable.
Reasons for tooth extraction
There are several reasons why you may need a tooth extracted.
- Infection – Occasionally, a tooth is infected right down to the pulp which could get dangerous if the situation cannot be improved with root canal therapy or antibiotics. This is far more serious than just a toothache. In these cases, extraction is essential to prevent the spread of infection.
- The tooth is not salvageable – When too much of the tooth has been chipped or cracked away so that it cannot be repaired by a filling or crown, sometimes extraction is the best option.
- Overcrowded teeth – Sometimes, before people have braces, it is necessary for the dentist to pull out a tooth or teeth to give the mouth more space. This way, the teeth can have the space to align properly.
- Wisdom tooth extraction – If wisdom teeth are impacted or you’re experiencing wisdom teeth pain, it is often sensible to remove them.
- Financial reasons – Sometimes, for a tooth to be salvaged, several dental appointments involving expensive procedures may be required. And for some, this is just not financially feasible. In this case, an extraction may be the best option.
- Risk of infection – If you are immunocompromised (e.g. if you are undergoing chemotherapy) the potential risk of infection in a particular tooth may be too great to dice with. Your doctor may decide that extraction is necessary.
- Periodontal disease – this is infection of the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth, which may cause loosening of the teeth. Tooth extraction may be required.
Do I need my tooth pulled out?
It depends. The best person to discuss this whether you need your tooth pulled out is your dentist. If there are other options available to salvage a tooth, it’s likely these will be preferable. However, every situation is different, so you’ll need to discuss this in person.
More info on tooth extractions
- Read more on the pros and cons of tooth extractions here.
- Learn what to expect after a tooth extraction here.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.