Getting a tooth pulled is an experience that most of us will have in our lifetime. Surprisingly, perhaps, surgical tooth extractions top the list of most common surgical procedures in the United States.
Wisdom teeth are notorious for extractions, particularly if they’re impacted or cause crowding issues that need to be resolved prior to getting braces. But there’s a lesser-known reason for pulling a tooth, bacteria, says our own Dr. Meriem Boukadoum at 54th Street Dental.
The connection between bacteria and tooth extractions
Let’s get started by addressing the elephant in the room. Dental professionals have a two-fold focus — promote oral health, and do everything possible to save damaged or diseased teeth.
While tooth extractions may seem counterintuitive to saving teeth, they play an important role in restoring oral health. This quintessential point is all about bacteria.
Lesser-known reasons for extracting teeth share a common thread: bacteria. More specifically how to stop bacteria in its tracks and keep it from spreading to other parts of the body. Bacteria can be linked to three main tooth destruction culprits: tooth decay, gum disease and infected teeth.
While stopping the spread of bacteria is important to everyone, it's an absolute necessity for immunocompromised patients, like those undergoing chemotherapy or needing heart surgery or an organ transplant. That’s why a clean bill of dental health is required prior to these procedures.
Cavities or tooth decay can cause permanent damage or breaches in tooth enamel. These breaches come from issues like not cleaning your teeth well enough, bacteria accumulation, and consuming sugary drinks or food.
The first line of defense for addressing tooth decay is a crown or filling. If the damage is too severe, your dental provider may need to resort to tooth extraction.
Similarly, bacterial tooth infections like a tooth abscess may develop from an injury, untreated dental cavity, or prior dental work. The abscess is actually a pocket of pus, which your dentist treats by draining or performing a root canal to get rid of the infection in trying to save the tooth.
The goal of a root canal treatment is to clean out the pulp and reset the inner layer. If the root canal treatment fails, the infected tooth will need to be extracted.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a fairly common oral condition affecting nearly half of all Americans age 30 and older. Gum disease is a progressive condition that develops from an infection, resulting in inflammation of gum tissue.
Healthy teeth are snugly connected to gum tissue, holding them in place. But when a patient has gum disease, this solid foundation can be compromised enough to threaten the integrity of that snug hold.
If your dental provider treats your gum disease in the first two stages of the condition, it has a chance of being reversed. But once gum disease reaches the third stage, advanced periodontitis, the connective gum tissue degrades, and your teeth may grow so loose as to need extraction.
Tooth loss isn’t the only result, however. Bacteria from gum disease may travel through your bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of your body.
If you’re experiencing tooth pain or want to learn more tooth extraction treatment, contact 54th Street Dental by using the online booking tool to request an appointment, or call our office in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City at 212-333-3200.