Tooth extraction can be performed by a dentist or an oral surgeon for a variety of reasons, ranging from extensive decay to overcrowding or infection. Although tooth extraction is a long-established procedure, contemporary advances in dentistry have highlighted some underappreciated risks associated with the operation.
Here are some long term effects of tooth extraction
Jaw Bone Shrinkage
The jawbones structural integrity is dependent on stimulation from the teeth. Since tooth extraction necessarily precipitates a reduction in stimulation, it can lead to the jaw bone shrinks. Studies have found that after tooth extraction, the bone underlying an extraction site experiences a 25% decrease in width during the first year alone. Moreover, the bone continues to shrink and will decrease in height by an average of 4 millimeters over the course of several years.
As the underlying bone shrinks, so too will the surrounding teeth move to occupy the space vacated by the extracted tooth. Tooth movement of this nature can lead to;
- Bite Collapse
- Sensitive roots being exposed to possible infection.
- Healthy teeth becoming more prone to chipping, breaking, or fracturing.
Radiating pain, which extends through the back, neck, head, and face.
Change in Appearance
Tooth extraction can precipitate a chain reaction, which after first inducing gum recession and then bone degeneration can ultimately lead to a change in facial structure. With the bone structure compromised, common side effects include drooping of the lips or hollowing of the cheeks.
The potential for nerve injury is a commonly signposted risk of tooth extraction. Although rare, when such injuries do occur, the patient may experience either numbness or a tingly sensation at the extraction site. Although, nerve damage typically heals within 3-6 months, on occasion the damage can prove to be permanent.
An often overlooked effect of tooth extraction is the lingering psychological impact that the treatment can have. In particular, patients are affected in social or intimate situations as a result of feeling self-conscious or insecure about their appearance.
What to do?
Fitting a dental implant constitutes the best way to combat the long term effects of tooth extraction. An implant’s embedded design means that it can effectively counterattack bone shrinkage and thus limit potential changes to facial appearance. Moreover, fitting an implant also efficiently tackles the issue of tooth movement, as well as minimizing the potential for long term psychological effects.