Tooth extraction is a dental procedure in which a dentist removes a tooth from its socket. Dentists recommend different types of tooth extractions for a variety of reasons. Tooth extractions are a quick and standard outpatient procedure.
Why Dentists Recommend Tooth Extractions
A tooth extraction may be necessary for a number of circumstances. The dentist may recommend a tooth extraction if:
- Decay has reached deep inside the tooth
- An infection has destroyed a substantial amount of the tooth or the surrounding bone the tooth
- The teeth are overcrowded
- There are extra teeth blocking other teeth from coming in properly
- The patient’s baby teeth did not fall out in time for the permanent teeth to come in
- The patient is planning to get braces or other orthodontic treatment and there is not enough room in the mouth for the teeth to move
- Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, crowd out other teeth or fail to emerge through the gum line
Tooth Extraction Procedures
There are two main types of tooth extraction procedures:
A dentist may perform a simple extraction on a tooth that is visible above the gums and that the dentist can remove in one piece. Simple extraction typically requires only local anesthesia. In this procedure, the dentist loosens the tooth with a tool, known as an elevator. Next, the dentist removes the tooth with a pair of forceps.
Surgical extraction may be necessary to remove a tooth that has broken off at the gum line, or to remove a wisdom tooth or other tooth that has not emerged through the gum line. A surgical extraction is more complicated and may require the use of intravenous (IV) anesthesia that can range from conscious sedation to general anesthesia. The procedure involves making an incision in the gum and removing the exposed tooth. In some cases, the dentist or oral surgeon will cut the tooth in half to remove it or remove some of the bone surrounding the tooth.
Following Tooth Extractions
Immediately after a simple or surgical tooth extraction, the dentist will have the patient bite down on a piece of dry, sterile gauze to limit bleeding. The patient should keep that gauze in place for 30 to 45 minutes to allow blood clotting to take place.
Keeping the extraction area clean and preventing infection is critical following simple extractions and surgical extractions. Patients should not smoke, rinse their mouths vigorously, or clean the teeth next to the extraction site for 24 hours following tooth extractions. They should also avoid consuming hot liquids and drinking through a straw. Patients should limit strenuous activity; rest and relaxation are important, especially for the first 24 hours.
Patients can expect to experience some amount of discomfort following tooth extractions. Dentists may recommend an analgesic or, in some cases, prescribe one. Applying an ice pack to the cheek for 15 minutes at a time can bring relief. Discomfort should subside within three days to two weeks; patients who experience prolonged pain should consult with their dentist. Patients experiencing signs of infection, such as pain, fever and pus or drainage at the extraction site, should see their dentist as soon as possible.
For more information on tooth extractions, contact Innovative Family Dental. Our team of dental professionals use advanced techniques to perform tooth extractions.