A dental extraction involves removing a tooth from its socket in the bone.
Permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime. However, there are many reasons that you may need to undergo teeth extraction. We always try to save a tooth first, but at times, removal may be our only option.
Reasons for Having a Dental Extraction
If a tooth is damaged severely due to trauma or cavities, we will try to restore it with a filling or a root canal. Sometimes the infection is so severe that antibiotics or a root canal do not cure it. In this case, we will need to extract the tooth to avoid the spread of infection. A very loose tooth due to periodontal disease may also need extraction if we are unable to save it, even using bone grafts.
There are times we will need to extract teeth that block other teeth from erupting or coming in. Sometimes patients getting orthodontic treatments to correct an overly crowded mouth may need some teeth removed to make room for remaining teeth to shift into place.
One of the most common dental surgeries performed is the extraction of wisdom teeth, also called third molars. Wisdom teeth usually come in during the late teens or early 20s. If they are decayed or infected, they may cause a lot of pain and will need extraction. Sometimes wisdom teeth do not come out because they are impacted, or stuck in the jaw. That can irritate the gum, and cause pain and swelling. Impacted wisdom teeth must be extracted. Many patients need all four wisdom teeth removed, and we usually take them all out at the same time.
In some cases, any risk of infection may warrant tooth extraction. Some patients may have a compromised immune system due to chemotherapy, organ transplant, or another reason. Removing a tooth can stop the source of infection and avoid any complications.
What Should You Expect?
Before extracting your tooth, we will inject the site with a local anesthetic to numb the area. If you are having impacted teeth or more than one tooth being pulled out, we may opt to use sedatives for comfort, or a general anesthetic which will make you sleep throughout the procedure.
There are two common types of extractions. A simple procedure involves loosening the tooth with an instrument called an elevator, then we use forceps to remove your tooth. An impacted tooth will need oral surgery, which is a more involved treatment. We will first cut away the gum and bone tissue covering your tooth, then will use forceps to rock your tooth back and forth gently and loosen it. In some cases may need to remove your tooth in pieces.
Once we extract your tooth, a blood clot will form in the socket. We will have you bite down on a gauze pad to help stop the bleeding. We may need to place self-dissolving stitches to close the gum over the extraction site.
Healing usually takes about one or two weeks. Over time, the gap caused by your missing tooth can cause the remaining teeth to shift, making it hard to chew and affecting your bite. We usually recommend replacing your missing tooth with an implant, bridge, or denture.
The most common side effect of a dental extraction is a condition called dry socket which happens if the blood clot in the tooth socket fails for form or becomes dislodged. The absence of a blood clot exposes the underlying bone to air and food, which may cause severe pain in the area. If this happens, we will place a medical dressing over the socket to help it heal.
Care After Tooth Extraction
Having your tooth extracted is a form of dental surgery. You may experience discomfort, but it is usually mild. Using an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin as prescribed will help ease the pain. After your extraction, make sure you bite down firmly but gently on the gauze pad we place to reduce bleeding and to allow a clot to form in your tooth socket.
Apply an ice pack to the area immediately following the procedure to keep down swelling. You will need to relax for at least a day, and limit activity for the next day or two. For the first 24 hours, make sure to refrain from smoking, rinsing your mouth vigorously, drinking through a straw, or spitting forcefully to avoid dislodging the clot forming in the socket. After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with a solution made of half a teaspoon of salt and eight ounces of warm water.
Continue to brush and floss your teeth while avoiding to clean the teeth next to the extraction site. We will give you instructions on after-extraction care. Make sure to follow them carefully to help with the healing process and to avoid any complications.
When Should You Contact Us
Make sure to contact us immediately if the swelling in the area of your extracted tooth gets worse instead of better, or if you have a fever, chills, shortness of breath, redness, trouble swallowing, or uncontrolled bleeding. You should also contact us if you experience nausea or vomiting, or if the extraction site becomes very painful which could be a sign that you have developed dry socket.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
For the best and reliable care, contact Westcliff Family dentistry today. We are here to address all your family’s dental needs. Even though there are instances we will need to remove teeth; we do this as a last resort. Our goal is to restore and preserve your teeth because we believe that your teeth are meant to last a lifetime!
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