Tooth extraction is the process of permanently removing a tooth from someone’s mouth. Even though adult teeth were meant to last for your entire life, there are some circumstances where extraction may be necessary. In fact, many people experience tooth extractions in the form of wisdom teeth removal. While wisdom teeth removal is common for a lot of healthy adults and adolescents, other extractions are only performed if absolutely necessary.
With the right aftercare and treatment plan, a tooth extraction is only the first step towards a bright, happy smile. A combination of implants and other dental work will help you have a pain free smile and prevent any future health risks.
Tooth Extractions 101
A tooth extraction is a dental procedure that is typically only done if there is no alternative. Your dentist will first numb the area with anesthetic then extract the tooth and roots completely. After the area heals, some further restorative work is done such as a new implant. This ensures that your smile is healthy, pain free and that your other teeth look straight and normal. There are four main reasons why a tooth extraction may be necessary:
- Removing excess teeth – This is the most common form of extraction, often done to remove wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are extra teeth in the back of your mouth that can cause your other teeth to crowd or can cause cavities because they collect bacteria in the back of your mouth.
- Advanced Cavity – If a cavity or infection has advanced to the point where a filling or root canal won’t help, an extraction might be necessary. This prevents the infection from reaching your jaw and potentially causing serious harm. While losing a tooth is regrettable, the risk of leaving an infected tooth is much worse.
- Trauma or Injury – In rare cases, an accident can cause you to break one or more teeth in a very serious way. Unlike a small chip, this kind of damage can completely break a tooth and cause similar issues to infections and other bacterial problems. This kind of trauma can occur when someone has a serious accident such as a motor vehicle accident.
- Systemic Risk of Infection – There are some people who have compromised immune systems where bacteria can be much more harmful to them than a normal healthy person. People with serious immune diseases or those going through chemotherapy may require an extraction just because there’s a small risk of bacterial infections.
What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction
Once a tooth is pulled, a blood clot will form on that spot. Additionally, the dentist or oral surgeon will stitch the wound closed with self-dissolving stitches. After a period of time for healing, typically a week or so, the next restorative procedure will begin on that site.
Immediately after the extraction, your dentist will give you a set of aftercare instructions that you must follow to promote good healing over the course of that week. These steps include:
- Applying ice to the area
- Taking prescribed painkillers on schedule
- Limit activity for 24 hours after the procedure
- Follow the diet recommendations given such as avoiding hard foods or extreme temperature foods
- Do not smoke
- Do not use a straw
- Rinse with saline solution as required
While your dentist will have a more complete procedure, these steps help to prevent future damage while also promoting healing.
In the longer term, some restorative procedures have to be completed on that site. Most commonly, this includes a dental implant with a crown to fill the gap. If the tooth was extracted to make room for other teeth, some form of braces might be required.
Do You Need an Extraction?
Dental extractions are a late stage treatment. If you have pain in one or more teeth or haven’t had a checkup in some time, contact us today at Wooten Dentistry. Our expert team of dentists and dental staff can examine your teeth, gums and oral health to find out if you need an extraction or if other options might be available.