A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. If a tooth has been injured or develops tooth decay, your dentist will recommend treatments to save the tooth first such as a filling or crown. In cases where the tooth is too severely damaged, your dentist may recommend for the tooth to be extracted.
Why You May Need a Tooth Extraction:
Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are many reasons why a tooth extraction may be necessary, including:
- A Crowded Mouth: caused by teeth that cannot fit in your jaw to properly align teeth
- Infection: usually can be corrected with root canal therapy (RCT), but if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or RCT does not cure it, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection
- Risk of Infection: if your immune system is compromised (receiving chemotherapy, having immunosuppressed diseases, or having an organ transplant), the risk of infection in a tooth may be reason enough to have it extracted
- Periodontal Disease: an infection of the tissue and bone structure that surround and support the teeth can cause loosening of the teeth, making it necessary for a tooth extraction
Two Types of Tooth Extractions:
- Simple tooth extraction: performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. General dentists commonly do simple extractions. In a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses forceps to remove the tooth.
- Surgical tooth extraction: a more complex procedure. It is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come into the mouth yet. Surgical extractions are more commonly done by oral surgeons. The doctor will have to make a small incision into the gum, remove some of the bone around the tooth, or cut the tooth in sections to extract it.
What You Should Expect from Your Tooth Extraction Appointment:
Before the tooth is extracted, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. IV Sedation and nitrous oxide may be available to provide a more comfortable experience.
You may experience pressure, but no pain during the procedure. If you feel any pain or discomfort, tell your doctor. Once the tooth has been extracted, a blood clot usually forms in the socket. Your dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket and have you bite down on it to help stop the bleeding. Sometimes the dentist will place a few self-dissolving stitches to close the gum edges over the extraction site.
Thirty percent of all tooth extraction patients develop a dry socket, a painful condition that occurs when a blood clot doesn’t form in the hole, the blood clot breaks off, or the blood clot breaks down too early.
It is important to note that having dry socket leaves the underlying bone exposed to air and food. This can cause a bad odor or taste. You should call your dentist, so they can place a sedative dressing over the socket for a few days to protect it as a new clot forms.
Other potential risks or problems include:
- Accidental damage to nearby teeth: Fracture of fillings or teeth
- An incomplete extraction: Your dentist usually removes the root to prevent infection, but occasionally it is less risky to leave a small root tip remains in the jaw
- A fractured jaw caused by the pressure put on the jaw during extraction: This occurs more often in older people with osteoporosis (thinning) of the jaw bone
- A hole in the sinus during removal of an upper molar: A small hole usually will close by itself in a few weeks, if not, more surgery may be required
- Soreness in the jaw muscles and/or jaw joint: It may be tough for you to open your mouth wide. This can happen because of the injections, keeping your mouth open and/or lots of pushing on your jaw
- Damage to mandibular nerve: Causing potentially permanent numbness to the side of the tooth extraction
Post Extraction Home Care
Following a tooth extraction, your dentist will send you home to recover. Recovery typically takes a few days. The following can help minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed up recovery:
- Take painkillers as prescribed.
- Bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood every 30 minutes. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for three to four hours after the extraction.
- Apply an ice bag to the side of your face immediately after the procedure to keep down swelling. Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time with a 10-minute break in between.
- Relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Limit activity for the next day or two.
- Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket.
- After 24 hours, rinse with your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
- Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
- Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
- Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the extraction. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
- When lying down, prop your head up with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid the extraction site to help prevent infection.
When to Call Your Dentist:
It is normal to feel some pain after the anesthesia wears off. For 24 hours after having a tooth pulled, you should also expect some swelling and residual bleeding. However, if bleeding or pain is still severe more than four hours after your tooth is pulled, you should call your dentist.
You should also call your dentist if you experience any of the following:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Redness, swelling, or excessive discharge from the affected area
- Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting
New bone and gum tissue will grow into the space where the tooth was removed. Over time, however, having a tooth (or teeth) missing can cause the remaining teeth to shift, effecting your bite and making it difficult to chew. For that reason, your dentist may recommend replacing the missing tooth or teeth with an implant, fixed bridge, or denture.
At Advanced DDS, your Garden City Dentist, we want to make sure you and your family are well-educated on your oral health. When it comes to having a pain free, anxiety free experience for tooth extractions and all other dental treatments. We offer on-site IV Sedation, call for more information at (516) 825-1100 to reserve your consultation with our dentists.
Advanced DDS is proud to serve the surrounding cities: Mineola, Hempstead, West Hempstead, Franklin Square, Uniondale, New Hyde Park, Westbury, North New Hyde Park, Roosevelt, North Merrick, Roslyn, Carle Place, Williston Park, Old Westbury, Albertson, East Meadow, Garden City Park, Floral Park, East Garden City and many more.