Avoid Extraction of a Tooth
“Take my tooth out.”
This is the phrase I heard from almost every patient that I saw. Your tooth is a very important part of your body and once we take it out, nothing is as good as your own tooth. Extraction is the last resort when everything else has failed. Again, we come back to basics that we have to see the dentist every six months and if something is wrong with a tooth we can treat it before it gets complicated. When a cavity starts it only needs a filling. When it gets bigger it needs treatment of the nerve called root canal treatment. If left untreated ,you end up losing the tooth.
What happens if we extract the tooth? Obviously, there is an empty space created, so now you need an implant, denture or a bridge to fill the gap which could have been avoided. What happens if you leave that space? Apart from it looking ugly, the teeth in front and behind the gap will start moving and create spaces. Also, if you lose a lower molar the top tooth opposing it will move down also known as supra eruption. In other words, you lose one tooth and it is causing problem for all others directly or indirectly.
When many teeth are lost, especially in the back part of the mouth, patients begin to bite more and more heavily on the front teeth. Front teeth, however, do not have the shape to take the great forces the chewing muscles generate. The force causes the front teeth to be pushed outward toward the lip, thereby creating spaces between them. Because of the loss of back teeth and the inability to hold the jaws apart, the patient has their nose and chin come in closer to one another. This gives individuals an “aged” look; in other words, you will look older than you really are. With time the front teeth will give up too. This is one of the results of losing back teeth. I remember one of my friends lost two back teeth. She asked me to replace her missing teeth because she was having difficulty chewing. I couldn’t do it, with time the top teeth had come down so much that there was no space. These are only few complications that can happen when a tooth is not replaced after extraction.
If a child had back tooth removed, he or she will need a spacer. A spacer is a little wire that saves the space for new tooth to come in when baby tooth is removed at an early age. If you don’t get the spacer, other teeth will start moving into the space and permanent tooth will get stuck underneath.
I hope this article will help us understand the importance of each tooth in the mouth so we can take care of our teeth and not wait to the point where we have to extract them. If you have to, replace them as soon as possible. Some wise man said “prevention is better than cure”, so go see your dentist every six months or at least once a year so your teeth are well taken care of and last you a lifetime.
Dr. Humairah Shah is a dentist by profession and works in Torrance, California (USA). She has been working exclusively with children for the past 11 years.