Extraction And Tooth Removal
There are several reasons a tooth may need an extraction
- Decay has reached inside the tooth and destroyed a large section
- Periodontal disease has destroyed a significant amount of bone causing the tooth to become loose
A dentist typically recommends the extraction of teeth that are partially exposed or erupted. In this scenario, bacteria can occupy the areas around the tooth causing an infection that can destroy the surrounding bone. This not only affects the tooth in question but can also spread to adjacent teeth triggering additional bone loss. Impacted teeth create enormous pressure as they try to erupt which can damage the roots of teeth nearby. Removing the impacted tooth relieves the pressure and eliminates the plaque trap caused by a tooth that will not erupt.
How are teeth extracted
Firstly an x-ray must be taken to assure that the extraction of a tooth will not affect one of the large nerves in the jaw or skull. This is usually accomplished with a panoramic x-ray that scans the entire skull. The x-ray will determine the degree of difficulty and if any special post-operative instructions are needed. Some teeth especially wisdom teeth will require the expertise of an oral surgeon.
Once its determined that an extraction is necessary a local anesthetic will be given in the form of an injection. This will numb the area around the tooth and the tooth itself.
Simple extractions will first be loosened with an elevator and then pulled with a pair of forceps. It may also be necessary to smooth the bone around the socket and close the wound with a stitch. Some dentists also like to pack synthetic bone into the extraction socket to help rebuild the bone. This is important if the patient is considering placing an implant in the area of the extraction.
What should you expect after the extraction?
Immediately after the extraction, your dental dentist will have you bite down on a piece of gauze for several minutes. This ensures a reasonable blood clot forms in the extraction site. After that, the blood clot will accelerate healing and prevent the formation of a dry socket. In addition, it’s important to avoid smoking or cleaning the extraction site. Smoking and rinsing can remove the clot resulting in a painful dry socket.
You should expect a certain amount of discomfort with an extraction. Depending of the difficulty of the extraction, your dentist may recommend an OTC pain killer or may prescribe a stronger one through your local pharmacy. Soft foods are recommended as well as lite rinsing with salt water to soothe the wound. Do not rinse too vigorously. Remember there is a blood clot in the socket that’s important to keep in place. Physical activity that increases blood pressure is not recommended. Additionally, a cold compress is recommended to reduce inflammation. The discomfort will decrease substantially by the third day and normal activities can resume shortly thereafter. If the pain does not diminish contact your dentist to see if a dry socket has formed.