When teeth are no longer restorable, loose from gum disease, or too crowded, the dentist may recommend undergoing tooth extraction. Tooth extractions are a very common procedure performed at the dentist. Tooth extractions, also known as exodontia, involve removing or pulling a tooth. Patients undergoing a tooth extraction are put under local anesthesia in the office to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.
The Tooth Extraction Procedure
Once it has been determined that a tooth will need to be pulled, the dentist will use an x-ray will to further evaluate the tooth. Once a tooth extraction is complete, stitches may be necessary to seal the wound. In other cases, a bridge, implant, or denture may be put in place of the tooth (or teeth) that was pulled. There are two types of tooth extractions:
- Simple Tooth Extraction: A simple tooth extraction is an extraction of a tooth that is visible inside the mouth. With a simple tooth extraction, forceps are utilized to pull the tooth from the mouth.
- Surgical Tooth Extraction: A surgical tooth extraction is more extensive. This type of extraction is utilized in instances where teeth have broken at the gum line, or when teeth have descended into the mouth, like in the case of wisdom teeth. A surgical extraction may be performed by an oral surgeon and often uses general anesthesia.
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When is a Tooth Extraction Recommended?
Dentists want you to retain all of your natural teeth for your entire life if that is possible. Tooth extraction is considered a last-resort dental solution. Some of the reasons this procedure may be necessary include:
- You’ve sustained irreparable tooth damage due to advanced decay. Tooth decay can turn into an infection at the center of a tooth, resulting in significant pain. Usually, this condition is treated with root canal therapy. However, extraction may be necessary depending on the severity of the infection.
- A tooth that is growing in has become impacted. This means that it’s trapped partially or entirely beneath the gums. This can happen with wisdom teeth. An impacted tooth can become infected or it may grow into an overlying tooth, causing damage or overcrowding.
- Orthodontic treatment for overcrowding and misalignment. In this case, extracting one or more teeth creates the necessary space for other teeth to come into alignment without any overlap or gaps.
- Periodontal disease has advanced to the point that a tooth has become loose. We do our best to stabilize the tooth and gums using appropriate gum therapies, but sometimes this isn’t enough and the tooth must be removed.
- A tooth has sustained a significant injury due to an accident.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Tooth Extracted?
We understand it can be intimidating to think of having a tooth extracted. Trust us, the benefits far outweigh the minor procedure! Depending on the reason you need to have a tooth extracted, you may experience:
- The fast resolution of pain
- Improved chewing ability
- The resolution of a severe dental problem, such as injury or decay
- The avoidance of damage to surrounding teeth
- Unnecessary overcrowding
Is There Any Sedation During Tooth Extraction?
Usually, sedation is reserved for surgical extractions such as wisdom tooth extraction or damage that has extended below the gumline. That said, we prioritize patient comfort, so perform all treatments using appropriate local aesthetic. Before your tooth extraction, your dentist will gently administer injections of a powerful analgesic that will numb the area around the tooth. Additionally, if you feel nervous about your procedure, we can assist you in gaining comfort using our NuCalm stress intervention technology. NuCalm doesn’t just enhance the effects of the local anesthetic but it also makes time seem to move more quickly. Your 60 or 90-minute treatment may feel much shorter!
How Long Does a Tooth Extraction Take?
Your tooth extraction procedure may take 20 minutes to an hour, even for multiple teeth. During your consultation for treatment, we’ll make sure you know what to expect during your procedure as well as after.
How Can I Prepare for a Tooth Extraction?
Depending on how soon you’ll have the extraction procedure done, your dentist may advise you to take certain precautions. Generally, there is very little risk of bleeding during or after this treatment. However, to further minimize the risk, you may be advised to avoid using blood-thinning medications. Examples include ibuprofen and aspirin. Some vitamins and supplements can also thin the blood, so talk to your dentist about products you take regularly. If you are anxious about having a tooth extracted, talk to our team ahead of time. We offer NuCalm as a form of natural anxiety relief and can arrange to include this in your appointment.
Is Tooth Extraction Painful?
The tooth extraction procedure is not painful. The area that the dentist will work on will be completely numb before work begins. Anesthetic generally maintains a consistent level throughout the extraction process, so you should be just as comfortable as we wrap up your procedure as you are when we begin. Just as you would if you were getting a filling, you’ll feel the dentist working. For example, you may feel movement or pressure against the side of your face. This is not uncomfortable. You should also be able to communicate with our team and let us know if at any time you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed.
What Can I Do for Discomfort After My Tooth Extraction?
After a patient undergoes a tooth extraction, come pain and discomfort may occur. The pain and discomfort can be relieved by:
- Applying ice to the external area
- Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
- Taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications
Tooth Extraction Recovery
Any bleeding, swelling, or post-operative discomfort usually diminishes within the first 24-48 hours after surgery. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to help fight off any infections. Patients should avoid certain foods and liquids for 24-48 hours after the tooth extraction. Most tooth extraction patients fully recover within a week or two after the procedure.
We recommend that restorative procedures such as bridges or implants be planned for after the removal of a tooth, as missing teeth can cause shifting and difficulty chewing.