Tooth Extraction Overview
A tooth extraction may be needed for several reasons. If a tooth is badly decayed, infected, or traumatized it will need to be extracted to prevent damage to the surrounding teeth and/or the jawbone. Millions of teeth are saved every year by a root canal treatment, however, there are thousands of cases where even a root canal treatment cannot save your natural tooth.
If you have an advanced stage of Periodontal gum disease, your wisdom teeth are coming in crooked or you need to make room for teeth to grow in before orthodontic treatments, these all may be factors for a tooth extraction. And although removing a tooth before it naturally falls out may seem extremely intimidating and scary, you’ll be happy to know your dental professional has most likely removed hundreds, if not thousands of teeth. It is a very common procedure to extract teeth for a multitude of reasons.
Simple Tooth Extraction
A simple tooth extraction is performed when a tooth needs to be removed from the gum line. This usually means that the tooth is fully grown in, or at least grown in enough to where the dental professional can grip it with an appropriate tool. Before the tooth (or teeth) is pulled out, the patient will be injected with a local anesthetic in the surrounding areas of where the extraction will take place. Your dentist will numb up your tooth and the bone and gum tissue that surrounds the tooth that will be extracted. This anesthetic will typically remove all pain that would be felt during the extraction. Some patients reported feeling some pressure during this procedure, but typically no pain is felt at all. The anesthetic is used to numb up nerve fibers but not those that necessarily relay pressure sensations.
The tooth that will be extracted is usually firmly encased in bone (the jawbone socket). It is also held in place by fibrous tissue between the tooth and the jawbone. To detach your tooth from the jawbone, the dental professional will use a tool called an elevator (dental screwdriver) that will be used to expand the space between. The tip of the elevator will be wedged between the gums and your tooth and pressured to fit right between the jawbone socket and your tooth.
You will see the dentist rocking the tool back and forth to loosen up the tooth from the jawbone. When your dentist is happy with space he or she has created, they will simply pull the tooth up and out. Your dental professional will likely use extraction forceps (dental pliers) to easily remove the tooth without touching any other tooth in the process. In some cases, the dentist will simply use the elevators to wiggle the tooth out, and pulling the remaining bit by hand.
Once the tooth has been completely removed, your dentist will clean off the procedure site by scraping the inner walls of your gum lines to ensure no remaining infection resides. Next, your dentist will clean out the extraction site to remove any loose tooth fragments and blood. Lastly, your dentist will place several stitches to close up extraction site. These stitches are typically those that will dissolve after a few days or so if they are regular stitches, your dentist will ensure you come back within a few days to have them professionally removed.
To control bleeding, your dentist will likely place a wad of gauze over the extraction site and will have you bite down to create pressure and help stop the bleeding. To minimize swelling, your dentist may recommend placing an ice-pack on the jawbone area in which the extraction was made.
After Your Extraction
You can expect your extraction to take no longer than 40 minutes unless there are multiple extractions happening at once. Once the procedure is finished and you are all gauzed up, you can likely drive yourself home if the dentist only used a local anesthetic on you. If you were under any sort of sedation (usually for surgical extractions), then it is recommended to have a friend or family member there to drive you home.
It’s best to not eat or drink anything for at least a few hours after the extraction as to not stimulate any more blood flow. For the next day, it best to eat softer foods and stay away from extremely hot or cold foods and drinks to avoid any sensitivity. However, in most cases, the patient can eat or drink without feeling any soreness or pain within the next day or two. If the extraction was surgical, the time for healing is at least doubled.
Surgical Tooth Extraction
If the tooth hasn’t grown above the gum line or the tooth that needs to be extracted is above the gum line but it broke well below the gum line, it will need a surgical extraction. In a surgical extraction, your dentist will need to make a small incision along the gum line above where the tooth needs to be pulled out from. From here, the extraction steps as listed above are nearly the same. A local anesthetic can be
used in this case as well, however, your dentist may recommend a light sedation to completely remove any pain or pressure felt during this procedure.
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) may be used to relieve the patient from any anxiety of the procedure as well. Be sure to have a friend there to drive you home after this procedure as it is likely that you will still be lightly sedated after the procedure.
Do Not Be Alarmed If…
You hear noises: You will likely hear several snaps and cracks during an extraction. After all, bone, tooth and hard tissue are involved. When the dentist is loosening your tooth up from the bone socket, you will hear intimidating breaks in your mouth, do not be alarmed, as this is normal and it’s a routine procedure.
You feel Pressure: As mentioned before, you will likely feel no pain but some pressure. Many patients mistake the pressure for pain, in this case perhaps the dentist can administer some laughing gas to help ease up your anxiety.
It only takes a few minutes: Chances are, your dentist has performed this procedure many times and can administer the procedure easily and quickly. This isn’t a bad thing!
Visit Ritter & Ramsey and see why so many people in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens call us their home for optimal dental healthcare. Inquire about your initial consultation today.
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