A tooth that is severely damaged to a point that it cannot be saved must be professionally extracted. Although the process is very common in dentistry, it’s natural to feel anxious or concerned about the removal of a permanent tooth. As you learn more about the extraction process, you should feel more confident that the final result will be satisfying.
Reasons for Extraction
During a checkup or emergency visit with a dentist, it may be advised to have an adult tooth pulled out. A badly broken or decayed tooth may be beyond a point that restoration is possible. Ignoring damage or a cavity is going to leave the pulp exposed to harmful bacteria. If an infection does develop, there is a chance that the tooth will need to be extracted to stop the spread of bacteria.
Patients with a weak immune system are at a higher risk of infections in the mouth, so it may be advised to pull specific teeth before an issue can develop. People suffering from periodontal disease are more likely to get infections that weaken the bone and tissue surrounding the teeth. As they become loosened over time, the dentist may advise an extraction.
The process of improving the alignment of teeth may call for one or more extractions to make room for movement. Severely crowded teeth are going to prevent the necessary shift of the root and crown. As the alignment is adjusted, the gap created by the removed tooth will gradually close. Wisdom teeth are often extracted for similar issues with crowding, or they may be erupting at an angle that would lead to complications.
The Extraction Process
Your dentist or oral surgeon will prepare for the tooth extraction with injections of a local anesthetic. If multiple teeth require work, the specialist will use general anesthesia to ensure no pain during the removal process. An impacted wisdom tooth is going to require cutting of the gums to allow proper access beneath the surface. The dentist uses forceps to grip the tooth and loosen it from the jaw bone and supporting ligaments. Rarely, a tooth will be removed in smaller pieces if the dentist cannot pull it without causing significant trauma.
A blood clot will naturally form within the empty socket after a tooth has been removed, and it is immediately packed with gauze to control the bleeding. If the gums were cut or the extraction site is large, the dentist may decide to place dissolving stitches.
After the Extraction
A clean mouth is going to heal rapidly, so you can expect extraction recovery to complete within a few days. Proper aftercare instructions will be provided to ensure that you don’t experience significant discomfort or develop an infection. Prescription painkillers help to minimize pain immediately after the procedure when the gums are very sensitive. Packing gauze is usually left in place for a few hours following an extraction, but it can be changed if bleeding begins to saturate the pads. Bite down when new gauze is placed to encourage a clot to form and reduce bleeding.
Reduce swelling by applying an ice pack a few minutes at a time immediately after returning home. Limit physical activity for the first two days, and be sure to rinse with warm salt water after 24 hours. Avoid drinking from a straw or spitting forcefully because a painful dry socket can occur if the blood clot is removed. Eat soft foods or stick to a liquid diet to allow the extraction site to heal without unnecessary trauma. If you smoke, it is best advised to quit before the procedure so that healing isn’t inhibited.
A tooth extraction may seem like a minor procedure, but there are some risks involved in this type of treatment. Pay attention to the pain, bleeding, and swelling that you are experiencing after you return home from the office. If any of these symptoms are severe after four hours have passed, it’s best to call the dentist for further instruction. Developing a fever or chills is a sign that you could have an infection that needs to be treated promptly with antibiotics. Get in touch with your dentist if there is excessive discharge from the extraction site, or if you have severe nausea or vomiting.
If there is a gap left after your extraction, it is best to fill it with a bridge, denture, or an implant. Otherwise, the surrounding teeth will be compromised as they shift toward the space. Implants are best for single extractions or the placement of the anchors to secure a large bridge. Full dentures are only necessary if you have a severe trauma or a condition that requires the removal of all teeth on the top or bottom. Your dentist will recommend the best solution based on the location of extraction, and the number of teeth that were removed.