Helping patients from Sebastopol to Sonoma understand extractions
Through the course of childhood, many people will have a “baby” tooth pulled, or secondary teeth extracted as teenagers. This develops a mindset that we don’t need all our teeth. Extractions are so common in a conventional dentistry that we tend to take them for granted. As an ethical holistic dentist, Dr. Silvano Senn encourages people across the Sonoma area to consider whether extraction is the best option, and to seek care that hastens healing.
The fallacy of “if it’s a problem – pull it”
The average adult gets 32 “permanent” teeth. While that may seem like more than enough, each tooth provides important functionality:
- Incisors – The four “front and center” teeth on the upper and lower arches. They have a thin shape, flat at the bottom, ideal for biting into foods like apples and sandwiches.
- Cuspids – Much like their carnivorous namesake, “canines” are pointed teeth on either side of incisors. They pierce and pull off pieces of tougher foods. Even if you don’t often tear into a thick steak, consider that the largest canine teeth among land animals belong to herbivores – hippopotamus, gorilla, and camels to name a few.
- Molars – The main masticators of the mouth! These blocky teeth with relatively flat top surfaces allow us to grind food into digestible bits. Bicuspids or premolars are the frontmost and smallest in this category, followed by first molars and third molars.
Obviously, all these teeth are needed for healthy, enjoyable eating. A full set of teeth serves other vital purposes, as well. Attraction to a complete smile is in our DNA. Why? In primitive cultures this trait indicated a suitable mate capable of hunting and gathering and likely free of disease. Because the appeal of a gap-free smile remains deeply rooted in modern man’s psyche, it also plays a role in self-image and confidence.
While some days it may seem that texts and emails have replaced the art of conversation, it isn’t so. The average woman speaks 20,000 words in a day and men about 7,000. The point of those communications is to be clearly understood. Depending on their location, missing teeth can make that quite difficult.
Teeth do not function independent of the rest of the body. In particular, they share a symbiotic relationship with bone. It takes strong, dense jawbone to anchor teeth firmly in place. In turn, tooth roots provide stimulation that tells the body minerals and nutrients are needed to maintain bone. Missing teeth break this connection. Minerals are absorbed back into the bloodstream and sent to build bone in other areas of the body. As jawbone diminishes, the lower half of the face first develops a pinched appearance, than collapses.
These are all terrific reasons to want to keep your natural teeth, and there is one more – cavitations. Improperly performed extractions can leave small fragments of ligament at the site. They initially cause irritation, then eventually decompose inside bone. As the ligament tissue breaks down in the socket, it releases toxins and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that deteriorate bone. The holes (or cavitations) that form in bone can have far reaching health effects, from mysterious mouth pain to systemic infection.
Dr. Senn and his team at Whole Health Dentistry want to help you keep your own teeth as long as possible. However, there are circumstances when that is not in the best interest of your overall wellness. In that situation, the focus turns to extracting teeth with the safest possible technique to minimize trauma and risk of cavitation.
To help you recover quickly and uneventfully from an extraction procedure, Dr. Senn may recommend homeopathic therapy. Homeopathy is simply using diluted non-toxic natural substances to encourage your body’s healing capabilities.
For example, an extraction disrupts your nervous and circulatory systems. That triggers pain, bleeding, and inflammation. Over-the-counter or prescription analgesics block the brain’s perception of pain, bringing temporary relief but doing nothing to speed healing. A homeopathic formulation, however, stimulates the body’s organic mechanisms to reduce inflammation and resulting discomfort, swelling, and bleeding. Other homeopathic preparations soothe nerve trauma. There are natural remedies for anxiety, if you are nervous about your extraction procedure.
If you are in the Sonoma area and think you may need dental extractions, the most important fact to know is that you have treatment options. Call 707 549-6333 to schedule an appointment at Whole Health Dentistry.