Tooth extraction is a necessity if a tooth becomes too damaged or infected due to physical trauma or cavities.In some cases, teeth are extracted in advance to avoid complications later on.
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Tooth extractions are perhaps one of the most common procedures performed by a dentist. You may need to have a tooth pulled either in childhood and adulthood. If this is something that you have never experienced before, though, you may not know too much about the process.
Well, fortunately, a tooth extraction is a fairly straightforward process. As such, it is completely safe for you and will be over before you know it. However, to gain a better understanding of what will take place during this procedure, read about the relevant details below…
There are actually two different types of tooth extractions that a dentist can perform on a patient. These are:
This type of extraction is performed on teeth that can be easily seen inside your mouth. As the name suggests, this process is rather simple. The dentist will just have to loosen the tooth before extracting it from the gum line.
Of course, there are some teeth that aren’t quite as easy for dentists to remove. Sometimes a tooth may have broken off at the gum line, keeping a part of it hidden. Or, the tooth may not have erupted at all and may still be buried in the gum. If either of these cases is diagnosed, then the dentist will have to perform a surgical extraction.
Here, the dentist will need to make an incision in the gum so that the tooth can be accessed more easily. There is also a chance that he or she may have to fragment the tooth. This will allow it to be removed in several parts.
Now let’s take a look at just why it is that you may need to have a tooth extracted. The most typical reasons are as follows:
There are a number of ways that a tooth can get damaged. In some instances, an accident or a fall can break or damage a tooth so severely that the only option is to remove it. In other cases, it is advanced decay that is to blame for a tooth needing to be extracted. When there is just too much damage to fix, many dentists will recommend an extraction.
The area within the tooth, such as the root canal, can become infected and there is the opportunity for this infection to spread. Now, it is possible for this area to be disinfected and plugged up – this is known as a root canal. However, if the infection has spread too much, a dentist may need to perform an extraction to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Periodontal disease is an oral health condition that affects the gums and sometimes the bone surrounding a tooth. If the problem advances, the gums may become compromised, leading to shaky or loose teeth. Here, too, a dentist may decide to simply remove the teeth ahead of time.
Some people experience crowded teeth. This, in essence, is when your teeth are too big for your mouth, causing them to be pushed together. To make sure that your teeth are aligned properly, your dentist may strategically pull out one or more teeth. There will then be enough of room for the remaining teeth to sit straight.
This is also a procedure that dentists will turn to if they need to prep your mouth for orthodontic treatments. They may need to do this before they can use other tools to correct the alignment of your teeth.
In certain instances, a tooth is prevented from coming out of the gum. The most well-known example of this is wisdom teeth. When this happens, there is an increased risk of infection as well as overcrowding. So, depending on the outcome, the dentist may recommend removing these teeth.
As mentioned, most tooth extractions are rather clear-cut procedures. Still, depending on your overall health and your particular case, your dentist may require you to prep for the surgery in a number of ways. He or she will be able to issue better instructions once they have taken an x-ray of your teeth.
For instance, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics for you to take prior to the surgery. This becomes more likely if you already have an infection or have a compromised immune system. If the dentist anticipates that the surgery will be quite extensive, then this can be a cause to take antibiotics as well.
Your dentist also needs to know if you have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions as they can have an impact on the procedure. You should especially share any information regarding these issues:
Congenital heart problem
High blood pressure
History of bacterial endocarditis
Damaged or replaced heart valves
In the end, it is your dentist who will be best equipped to provide you with accurate instructions regarding your procedure. Therefore, it is important that you follow them exactly. For the most part, the guidelines will be rather simple. So, you may only need to show up with a clean mouth for the operation to proceed.
On the other hand, if your dentist decides that you will require heavier sedation or general anaesthetic, then the instructions will be more significant. For example, he or she may advise you to refrain from eating around 12 hours prior to the surgery.
These are the stages of a simple tooth extraction:
The dentist will inject a local anaesthetic around the area of the tooth that is to be extracted.
He or she will use a tool known as an elevator to loosen the tooth.
The tooth will be removed.
The dentist will place a piece of gauze into the empty socket to prevent bleeding.
This is what you can expect from a surgical extraction:
You may receive either a mixture of sedation anaesthesia and local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia.
He or she will then create an incision in the gum to expose the tooth and maybe the bone.
Depending on the situation, the dentist may divide the bone and then remove each piece individually.
The site will be cleaned thoroughly.
The gum may or may not be sutured, subject to the size and depth of the incision.
You will find that in most instances, that the benefit of a tooth extraction will far outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, there are some issues may arise once a tooth has been removed. For one thing, an extraction creates an entry point for bacteria to enter into your system.
The chance of this happening is even greater for people with certain immune problems. This is why a dentist will put such individuals on antibiotics prior to the procedure. Here are some of the other risks that you may need to contend with:
As mentioned, a natural blood clot will form in the empty socket once the tooth is removed. This more or less acts as a plug. Under certain circumstances, though, the blood clot may break off or break down too early. When this happens, the bone underneath the socket can be exposed to air and food particles.
A dry socket can be rather painful but it can also be remedied easily. If this should take place, then your dentist will simply place a sedative dressing over this area. This will be removed in a few days’ time once a new, protective clot has formed in the socket.
Now, your dentist will need to rely on certain tools to remove your tooth. Some teeth may be loosed easily and others may require a little more force. If your dentist does need to apply a bit more pressure, there is always the chance that teeth near the one being extracted may be damaged in the process.
This is something that may become more likely if you have had certain work done on surrounding teeth. For example, if you have fillings or a crown, there is a chance for these to become dislodged during the tooth extraction procedure.
In the case of a surgical tooth extraction, your dentist will need to expose your gums and bone to get to the impacted tooth. There are also quite a few nerve endings within this area. So, while removing the tooth, once of these nerves may become damaged. If this does happen, you may experience some numbness that can take several months to heal.
It is quite rare for the circumstances mentioned above to happen. Still, you should call your dentist if you notice the following symptoms:
Bleeding that continues for more than 12 hours
Redness or swelling at the extraction point
Fever or chills that can indicate an infection
Shortness of breath
Nausea or vomiting
Extreme, continued pain
Even the most straightforward tooth extraction is still considered a dental procedure. For this reason, you should try to rest for around a day once your tooth has been removed. At the very least, avoid getting back into your regular schedule until you are feeling better.
It should take a few days for you to recover from a tooth extraction, barring any unforeseen complications. During this time, it is normal to feel some discomfort. Most dentists will prescribe you over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs to reduce some of this pain. Since surgical extractions are often more painful, your dentist may prescribe stronger pain medications for a short period of time.
Once your procedure has been completed, the dentist will provide you with certain aftercare instructions. This is to help reduce the risk of complications and pain as well as to promote healing in that area. So, you should follow them carefully to minimise risks or any future issues.
Since there will be a little bit of swelling at the site, you can place an ice pack to the affected area. This will work to keep the swelling down. Keep the ice pack on the site for around ten minutes at a time. You can repeat this for the first few hours after the procedure.
For the first 24 hours following the procedure, you will need to avoid rinsing. While you can still floss and brush your teeth, you will have to stay away from the extraction site for a bit. When getting rid of toothpaste, simply spit it out gently. Once these 24 hours are up, mix around 30ml of water with half a teaspoon of salt. Use this to gently rinse out your mouth.
You will need to eat soft foods for about a day or two after the extraction. Most dentists will recommend soup, applesauce, and yogurt. It is really important to stay away from using straws for a while, though. Once the site begins to heal up, you can start eating solid foods again.
If you are a smoker, you should cut this habit for a few days before and after the procedure. Smoking has been known to increase the possibility of dry socket. It can also cause the extraction site to heal a lot more slowly. To give yourself the best possible chance at a risk-free extraction, you will need to abstain from cigarettes for a short period of time.
When lying down, make it a point to keep your head elevated by propping up pillows underneath it. By doing this, you may be able to slow some of the bleeding from the extraction site.
These are the top factors that you need to know about any tooth extraction. As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn. However, once you have digested all of this information, you are sure to be prepared for the procedure. At the very least, you will know just what to expect.