Reasons for Extracting Teeth
- Trauma: Loosening or breaking of a tooth
- Periodontal and Gum Disease: A serious infection of the tissues and bones surrounding your teeth
- Impaction: The tooth has not erupted from the gums due to either not having room or may be coming in the wrong direction or position. An example of an impacted tooth could be wisdom teeth.
- Tooth decay
- Infection/Risk of Infection
- Crowded Mouth
What to expect during a tooth extraction
An oral surgeon or a dentist with specialized training to perform surgery, will perform the tooth extraction. Your surgeon will inject the extraction site with a local anesthesia to numb the area ensuring you do not feel any pain during the extraction. If you are someone who feels uncomfortable or anxious during dental procedures, your surgeon may be able to use a stronger general anesthesia, numbing your whole body and allowing you to sleep during the process.
The surgeon will use forceps, a medical instrument shaped like a pair of tongs to grasp the tooth. They will then wiggle the tooth back and forth to loosen it from the jawbone and ligaments. If you have an impacted tooth, a tooth which has not erupted from the gums, such as wisdom teeth, the gum and bone tissue will be cut away first. You should not feel any pain during extraction, just pressure. If you do feel any sort of pain, make sure to notify your dentist immediately.
A dental elevator may be used before forceps to aid in loosening the tooth, to remove roots or impacted teeth. This is done to aid in the prevention of tooth breakage once the pressure of the forceps is applied. There are two ways an elevator may be used:
- The tip of the instrument is wedged into the ligament space between the tooth and surrounding jawbone. The elevator is then twisted around, expanding the forced space, and separating the tooth from its ligament.
- The elevator is wedged between the tooth and crest of the surrounding bone. The bone then serves as a leverage point, applying upward pressure on the tooth, lifting it out of the socket.
Closing the Extraction Site
The dentist will remove any infected or leftover tissue from the socket. They will then wash the area to remove any tooth fragments or loose bone. The extraction site will then be stitched up and gauze will be applied to the area to stop the bleeding.
Types of Stitches
- Dissolving: Disintegrate within a few weeks on their own. Time that it takes to disappear depends on stitching size, material, and extraction site.
- Removable: Used in some instances. Removable stitches are taken out between 7-10 days after surgery.
- Pain: As the anesthesia starts wearing away, you will start feeling some pain from the extraction site
- Infection: An appearance of discharge or pus, excessive swelling and bruising, difficulty opening the mouth, and a fever are possible signs of an infection
- For the next 24 hours expect to have some swelling and residual bleeding
- Don’t smoke: Smoking will increase your pain level and slow the healing process
- Apply an ice pack to your cheek to reduce swelling
- Eat soft foods (yogurt, applesauce, ice cream, soup, pudding, etc…)
- Bite down on gauze to reduce bleeding and leave gauze in for 3-4 hours until the pad is soaked through.
- Take any prescribed or over the counter medicine
- Do not use a straw or spit for the next 24 hours: Using a straw or spitting can risk dislodging the blood clot, triggering bleeding, and causing more pain