If tooth decay is proving to be too much for fillings, root canal therapy, or fluoride treatments, a dental extraction might be necessary. Depending on your dental situation, you may need to undergo two types of tooth extractions, a simple tooth extraction or a surgical extraction. But before you schedule your dental procedure, read through this guide to learn about the procedure, why your general dentist or oral surgeon recommends it, and for some aftercare tips and recovery.
While getting your teeth removed might not be desirable, there are times when it’s necessary. Dental extractions are often recommended when you’ve got damaged teeth as they can not only cause severe pain, it can also affect your oral health. Here are several reasons why you might need a dental extraction.
Damaged or broken teeth – If the tooth cannot be saved with a crown or other type of treatment, your dentist may recommend removing them. A broken or damaged tooth is more susceptible to cavities, making them prone to future problems if not treated properly. Even losing one tooth can cause issues with your bite alignment and chewing ability, so allowing several damaged teeth to remain puts you at risk of poor oral health.
Overcrowding – Another common reason for having teeth extracted is overcrowding. If you have multiple teeth that are too close together such as your wisdom teeth erupting, it can lead to a number of problems, including crooked teeth and gum disease. It can become challenging to keep all of your teeth clean and healthy, so it’s sometimes necessary to remove several at once in order to restore good oral health.
Food gets stuck in your teeth often – This reason is probably the most common one for needing a tooth extraction. If your teeth are damaged or misshaped, food can get caught between them and cause pain when eating. Sometimes it’s not even the food itself but bacteria that cause infection and swelling in your gums that damage the tooth and surrounding bone.
Tooth infection – A tooth can become infected when cracks in the tooth lead to bacteria entering the tooth and creating an infection. If severe tooth decay is left untreated, the infection can spread throughout your body and cause serious illnesses.
Gum disease – If you have gum disease, your gums become inflamed and swollen. Gum disease is painful and can spread to other organs within your body. Gum disease is treatable with regular dental checkups and usually does not require complicated procedures such as tooth extraction.
Orthodontic treatment – Before orthodontic treatment can start, you may need to have teeth extracted to make room for your crowded teeth.
Tooth extractions come in two types—simple tooth extraction and surgical extraction. Simple tooth extraction is the most common type of extraction your dentist will perform. When a tooth is above the gum line and can be pulled, your dentist may opt for a simple extraction. To remove your tooth, the dentist will use an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to pull it out. Prior to extracting the tooth, your dentist will numb the area around your tooth with local anesthesia and use dental tools to remove the tooth.
Recovery for a simple extraction is generally faster than recovery for a surgical extraction, which will take longer and require you to take more time off from work or school. Additionally, over-the-counter pain medication can be found at the pharmacy immediately after your extraction. If you have your dentist’s permission, prescription medication can also be taken to help relieve pain during the first-week post-extraction.
The most common type of surgical tooth extraction is a impacted tooth extraction. Examples of a impacted tooth extraction may include teeth that has yet to breach the gums such as your wisdom teeth, or teeth that breaks off at the gum line, leaving just the tooth roots.. Like a simple extraction, a surgical extraction also involves numbing the area with local anesthesia. If you have dental anxiety, your dentist may also different types of sedation.
For a surgical tooth extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will make an incision around the tooth in the gum tissue. The tooth can then be removed with dental forceps. In certain situations, the tooth or bone tissue around it needs to be cut into smaller portions so that it can be removed through the incision. After a surgical extraction, your mouth may be swollen, and your gums may bleed. Be sure to check with your doctor about how best to care for yourself and your mouth in the days following the procedure.
Before getting your tooth extracted, here are some topics to think of.
What type of sedation options do you want to manage the pain? – Local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, laughing gas, oral sedation, or IV sedation
Cost – If you have dental insurance, check with your dental insurance policy to see if it covers the whole procedure or just only a portion. If you do not have dental insurance, check with your dentist to see if they have a dental membership plan (dental savings plan) or offer third-party 0% financing for a more manageable payment plan.
When a tooth is extracted, it’s common for the socket to bleed even when it’s stitched up. We’ll give you some gauze and show you how to place it in the socket to absorb any drainage and promote clotting. To promote clotting, we suggest patients avoid rinsing, smoking, or drinking through a straw for 24 hours following a tooth extraction. Do not dislodge your blood clot as it can cause a dry socket, which can be painful. We also ask patients to leave the gauze in place for 3-4 hours before changing it out as necessary. After your extraction, the doctor may prescribe painkillers to reduce swelling and pain. To keep swelling and pain to a minimum, ice can be applied to your face 10 minutes at a time until the swelling subsides.
When you’re home, you should plan to relax for at least 24 hours. Resting after the procedure is essential so that your body can heal itself and reduce swelling. After the first day and during the first few days following your surgery, you can eat soft foods such as Jell-O, soup, pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, etc. As your socket heals, you can move on to a regular diet; however, you should avoid hard foods that might injure your socket and prevent it from healing properly. The whole healing time may vary depending on the patient, but generally, most patients recover after a few days.
If you’ve just had a tooth removed, one of the first things you’re probably wondering is how you can keep your smile looking its best. If there’s any silver lining to having a tooth extracted, it’s that you have an opportunity to start over with a clean slate and take steps to ensure that your smile stays healthy, white, and strong. Depending on your smile goals, you have a few tooth replacement options to restoring your smile – dental implants, implant-supported bridge, and tooth-supported bridge. Speak to your dentist to see which option will work best for you.
Once the tooth is removed, patients can usually stop worrying about a dry socket (alveolar osteitis) after seven to ten days. However, everyone heals at his or her own rate and may take longer than the average patient.
Dry sockets develop following tooth extractions and are increasingly painful in the days after surgery. A dry socket may have exposed bone, tissue, or an unpleasant smell. This usually happens because of poor oral hygiene or the surgical site being agitated, and it can lead to infection.
Our Sloan Creek Dental team is here for you. From making your initial appointment, dental treatment, to the follow-up care, we’re here to guide you through the process. If you have any questions about wisdom tooth extraction, sedation dentistry, oral surgery, or general tooth extraction questions, please call our office at 972-468-1440 today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Feng. Our dental office is located in Fairview, Texas, and our patients visit us from across the surrounding areas, including Allen, Plano, McKinney, and Lucas.