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Our team at Smiles at Fairfax Corner understands that life gets busy and it may be hard to keep up with your regular dental appointments and daily at-home hygiene routine. Unfortunately, that gives cavity-causing plaque a chance to build up and cause damage. If the dental decay reaches the sensitive tooth pulp, it can cause an excruciating toothache.
Our team at Smiles at Fairfax Corner is eager to work with you to ensure your teeth remain healthy. There are times, however, when a tooth is too damaged or decayed to save. Our dental professional will advise you if it’s in your best interest to have a tooth removed.
A tooth extraction is also called pulling a tooth or a tooth removal. All three terms mean the same thing. Tooth extraction is a very common procedure.
Teeth are not rigidly fixed to the jaw bone. Instead, they’re attached by fibers called periodontal ligaments. Our dentist will carefully manipulate your tooth to detach those ligaments, making it easy to extract a tooth.
Why a Tooth May Need to be Removed
People come to Smiles at Fairfax Corner to inquire about tooth removal for several reasons. Common reasons for tooth extractions include:
- Severe decay (cavity)
Dental decay is an infection that erodes the enamel on teeth, which causes cavities (holes) in teeth. Small cavities can be fixed with a filling. Larger cavities can usually be fixed with a crown. If you have a painful, infected tooth, there are two options for relief. The first is a root canal. If that is not a viable toothache remedy for you, our dentist may recommend the tooth be pulled.
- Severely cracked or broken tooth
Cracked or broken teeth can, in many cases, be fixed with a crown. In other situations, the damage has reached the tooth’s pulp and the tooth needs a root canal and a crown to save it. There are yet other times when the tooth is so severely damaged that it cannot be saved. In those cases, our dentist will recommend the damaged tooth or rotten teeth be removed.
- Crowded teeth / Tooth removal for orthodontic treatment
Our dentist may find that your jaw is too small to hold all your teeth in alignment. Teeth can crowd each other and move out of position. The dentist may extract a tooth to make room for the rest of your teeth. Often, removal of a tooth is followed by orthodontic treatment, including braces, to properly align the remaining teeth.
- Baby tooth retained
A retained baby tooth is one of your primary teeth that does not fall out on its own. That means the permanent tooth behind it has no way to emerge through the gum line. In this case, our dentist will remove the baby tooth so the permanent tooth is able to come through.
- Advanced periodontal disease
Just like the bacteria in your mouth can attack the enamel of the tooth and create cavities, the bacteria can cause periodontal disease, which will attack the gum tissue, causing it to pull away from the tooth. It also erodes the ligaments holding the tooth to the jaw bone. If your tooth becomes too loose, it might fall out on its own or need to be extracted.
- Impacted wisdom tooth
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that typically push through the gum line at the back of the jaw when you are 17 to 25 years old. In many cases, there is not room for those third molars to come in. If a wisdom tooth remains partially or completely under the gum line and is impacting the tooth next to it, it is called an impacted wisdom tooth. The dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to have an impacted tooth removed.
If you hear our dentist in Fairfax Corner refer to the type of extraction you need as a “simple tooth extraction,” it means the dentist expects the condition of the tooth and its shape to allow the tooth to come out easily. This is also referred to as an uncomplicated extraction.
A tooth extraction is a routine dental procedure, so our dentist can perform it right in the comfort of our Smiles at Fairfax Corner. In some cases, however, the dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to perform the tooth extraction.
Wisdom Tooth Removal in Fairfax
Most people have four wisdom teeth that come through the gum line during their later teen or early adult years. They are officially called third molars.
Often, your jaw does not have enough room for that third set of molars. When they try to push their way up past the gum line, the third molars may cause several health problems. When our team at Smiles at Fairfax Corner takes x-rays, we check to see if your wisdom teeth are causing any problems such as:
- If your jaw does not have space for the wisdom teeth to properly come through
- The third molars are just partially coming through the gums
- Your wisdom teeth are coming in crooked
- The wisdom teeth are leading to gum infection
- The wisdom teeth are damaging the adjacent teeth
- The third molars may be damaging the jaw bone
Our dentist may recommend you have all your wisdom teeth removed to eliminate existing problems or to prevent future problems. It is an easier procedure to have the wisdom teeth extracted before you turn 25. That is because the wisdom tooth roots aren’t fully developed yet and the jaw bone is not as dense as it will be later in life.
Call Smiles at Fairfax Corner Today to Schedule an Exam
The first step to determining whether you need to have any teeth pulled is to schedule your exam at our office. We’ll take x-rays of your teeth, then evaluate their condition and discuss your options and concerns. From there, we will determine whether the natural tooth or teeth can be saved and restored to health, or if the best option extraction.
Call our office today at (703) 997-0928 to schedule an exam. We look forward to helping you.