There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.

When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may schedule another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a "tooth socket," and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with Dr. Hartman any concerns or preferences for sedation.

Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, Dr. Hartman may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.

What should I expect if you need to pull a tooth?

When a tooth needs to be extracted, patients are often surprised to learn that pulling the tooth is not the only concern. We also worry about cavitations, a situation where a socket of an old tooth extraction site has not completely filled in, leaving thin holes in the bones of the jaw. Cavitations occur when the periodontal ligament that holds the root of a tooth to its bony socket fails to break down and disappear during the healing process. As the socket heals and is filled in with new bone,a thin strip of fibrous tissue prevents the growth of new bone in that area, thereby causing a narrow space to remain. Whatever bacteria and toxins were trapped in the periodontal membrane remain in the jaw as a chronic infection.

In recent years, studies show these cavitation areas are infected with 20-30 species of disease. Dr. Hartman has seen numerous patients who complain of obscure pains in their mouth, face and jaws. They vary from mild to very severe in the amount of pain each cavitation can produce. It is believed that people who have teeth extracted would be free of problems concerning those sites. However, when Dr. Hartman cleans out and treats these areas- there is no question that the tissue removed is abnormal. It is a gritty, sawdust like, hollow cavity that contains small flakes of dead bone. One woman suffered from neck and jaw pain for years. After Dr. Hartman preformed a surgical treatment of her previously extracted tooth site, she was finally free from this chronic pain. The only known successful treatment of cavitations is their surgical removal.


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