A Detailed Guide
When a tooth has been damaged beyond repair due to tooth decay, a tooth extraction is often recommended. Tooth extractions may be done to remove a tooth completely from its spot in the jaw bone.
From this new guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Tooth Extractions procedure including:
• What a tooth extraction is
• The types of tooth extractions
• Who needs tooth extractions
• Who is a candidate for tooth extractions
• Steps involved in the tooth extraction procedures
• And lots more
If you want to learn more about tooth extraction procedures, this guide is for you!
Continue reading to discover more.
What Is Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extractions are recommended when a tooth has been damaged beyond repair as a result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, or dental trauma. Some other times, tooth extraction may be recommended for aesthetic reasons.
Typically tooth extractions are fairly straight forward, since it’s not as complicated as doing a root canal or other alternative procedures for tooth decay, and so on. The procedure is usually performed a dentist like Dr. Park, or for more complex cases, an oral surgeon. It’s also important you as the patient know what to expect before, during, and after tooth extraction. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the procedure.
What Is a Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extractions are a dental procedure that involves the removal of a tooth from the dental alveolus (socket) in the alveolar bone. In simple terms, it is involves removing a tooth completely from its spot in the jaw bone.
Tooth extractions are performed by dentists and oral surgeons. It is done in stages, including consultation to go over the specific situation of the patient, the administration of anesthesia, loosening, extraction of the tooth from the socket, as well as the post-operation care to make healing faster and easier.
As hinted already, tooth extraction is expected to be handled by a capable dentist like Dr. Park. It is a decisive procedure that is recommended when there is no better solution to dental issues than the removal of a tooth.
Tooth extractions are also referred to as dental extractions, exodontia, and exodontics.
Types of Tooth Extraction
There are basically two types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical. The type you will undergo will depend on a number of factors, including the reason for the extraction, the size and shape of the tooth, and the position of the tooth.
Simple Tooth Extraction
Simple tooth extractions are the removal of a tooth that is visible in the mouth. In most instances, it is the type of procedure used to remove a tooth that is badly damaged as a result of tooth decay, serious tooth infection, or dental trauma. Mostly, it is the type of extraction performed prior to getting braces.
As the name clearly suggests, simple tooth extractions are a fairly straight forward procedure. Nevertheless, you will be given local anesthesia just before the dental professional starts the actual procedure. Some dental professionals will also administer anti-anxiety medication or use conscious sedation during the procedure.
After a simple tooth extraction, post-operative care is mostly simple too. In most instances, pain can be managed with over-the-counter medications.
Surgical Tooth Extraction
Surgical tooth extractions are a more complex procedure when compared to simple tooth extraction. It involves the removal of teeth that are not visible in the mouth, either because they have not fully emerged or they have been broken off.
Considering the nature of surgical tooth extractions, they’re mostly performed by an oral surgeon. Sometimes, surgical tooth extraction requires general anesthesia – especially when the patient has special medical conditions.
After surgical tooth extractions, some patients may need more medical attention than others to prevent complications and improve the healing process. Some patients may also receive prescription pain medication immediately after the procedure.
Who Needs Tooth Extractions?
Though permanent teeth are expected to last a lifetime, in many cases they do not. For different reasons, they may need to be removed in order for a patient to enjoy optimal oral health. A dental extraction is mostly recommended in the following instances:
Some people have so many teeth in the mouth that it is impossible for them to align without some being removed. In such instances, tooth extraction is recommended for orthodontia. Sometimes, this is necessitated by teeth that are too big for the patient’s mouth.
Sometimes, a tooth will fail to erupt (break through the gum) because there is no longer room for it in a crowded mouth. In such cases, dentists will most likely recommend removing it.
Tooth decay is a common dental problem. Most times, it is treatable, especially when it is discovered in time. An untreated decay or another type of damage can extend to the center of the tooth (pulp), which contains nerves and blood vessels.
When bacteria in the mouth enter the pulp and cause further damage, patients will suffer more. This problem can be corrected with root canal therapy (RCT). Sometimes, the infection may be too severe that RCT or antibiotics will not cure it. A tooth extraction will be recommended at that point to prevent the spread of the infection and further damage to the mouth.
Risk of Infection
The risk of infection may be enough for dentists and doctors to recommend dental extraction. This is common when a patient’s immune system has been compromised, mostly due to chemotherapy, organ transplant, and other serious treatments. If your physicians feel it is the best thing for you, you need to go along with it.
Periodontal or gum disease may also necessitate a dental extraction. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. A serious case of periodontal disease may cause loosening of the teeth and serious pain that can only be solved by removing a tooth or multiple teeth.
There are a good number of issues that will require tooth extraction besides the common ones discusses here. Some examples include;
- Trauma or injury to the tooth or surrounding bone
- Wisdom teeth complications
- Preparation for a dental prosthesis
- Baby teeth not falling out at the proper age.
Preparing For Tooth Extraction
What to Expect During the Initial Consultation
Before a tooth extraction procedure, a consultation with the dental professional is necessary to ascertain the suitability of the patient for the procedure and also start the preparation phase. During this initial consultation, the dentist will review the dental and health history of the patient.
Some health conditions and medications may change the suitability of dental extraction or prolong the preparation phase. Patients who have heart problems and those who have had a joint replacement of the knee or hip, for instance, may need prophylactic antibiotics before the procedure.
You need to answer the dentist’s questions honestly so that he/she can make the right call for your dental and overall health. You can go with the medications you are currently taking.
During the consultation before dental extraction, a dentist will inform the patient on the best way to prepare for the procedure. Here are some of the ways a patient may have to prepare:
Stopping blood thinners
Blood-thinning medications are used by patients with specific medical conditions to prevent the formation of blood clots in vessels. These medications can lead to serious bleeding during any surgery, including tooth extraction.
Ideally, a dental surgeon will ask a patient to stop taking blood thinners before a dental extraction procedure. Your primary healthcare provider/physician will have to agree to this, however. Most time, the result of a recent blood test will be needed before the decision is made. Sometimes, the patient will be advised to temporarily switch to a different blood thinner.
Depending on a patient’s health history and current health condition, Dr. Park may prescribe antibiotics before a dental extraction procedure. This is normally done to treat a dental infection with widespread symptoms like fever, malaise, and local oral swelling.
Sometimes, Dr. Park will prescribe antibiotics for a patient who has a high risk of infective endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves or the interior lining of the heart chamber. The American Heart Association and the American Dental Association agree that people with certain heart conditions have an increased risk of developing this infection and other heart-related infections following dental surgery.
In all, you will start an antibiotics medication prior to a dental extraction when there is a need to treat an existing infection or when there is a high risk of infection following the procedure. However, this does not mean everyone must start antibiotics medication before dental extraction. You should only do that when your dentist recommends that. You also need to use antibiotics exactly as directed by a doctor.
Your dentist will tell you other things you need to do to get fully ready for the procedure. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Wear short-sleeved or loose-fitted clothing if you will be receiving intravenous anesthesia
- Don’t eat or drink for six to eight hours before your appointment to keep your mouth clean
- Do not smoke beforehand
- Inform your dentist if you are feeling cold or had nausea or vomiting the night before – any serious incident may mean that the procedure will require another type of anesthesia or even rescheduled
- If you are receiving general anesthesia, come with someone who can drive you home or make an arrangement for your comfortable transportation back home.
Tooth Extraction Procedure
Every tooth extraction procedure requires anesthesia. Depending on the specific type of procedure, you may receive local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Simple tooth extraction requires local anesthesia, which will be administered close to the site of the extraction.
Local anesthesia will numb the area of the extraction so that you will not feel much pain when the tooth is removed. Depending on the patient’s condition and request, additional anesthetic or sedative medication may be administered. The dental professional may administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedative medication, or intravenous sedation.
Some people will need general anesthesia for dental extraction – this is especially true when surgical tooth extraction is recommended, such as when you’re referred to an oral surgeon. A person under general anesthesia will be asleep throughout the procedure. Such patients will not feel any pain throughout the procedure.
The Actual Procedure
As you already know, a tooth extraction procedure can either be simple or surgical. During a simple procedure, a dentist will normally use an instrument known as an elevator to loosen the tooth and use forceps to remove it. Ideally, an entire tooth is removed at once.
A surgical extraction is a little more complex and involves the use of more instruments. The general dentist or an oral surgeon will cut into your gum with a small incision before the tooth can be removed.
Some surgical dental extractions will require the surgeon to remove some bone around your tooth before the tooth can be extracted. Some procedures may require cutting the tooth before removing it bit by bit.
Recovering From Tooth Extraction
Following a successful tooth extraction procedure, most patients can go back to their normal routine the same day. Depending on the type/method of extraction and the type of anesthesia used, some people will need a few days to recover.
Without complications, dental extractions will heal easily. To make the healing process smooth, you will need to follow your dentist’s instructions religiously. The numbness induced by the anesthesia will take a while to wear out. You shouldn’t worry about it. Your dentist can recommend an OTC painkiller or give a prescription for stronger painkillers to manage pain following the procedure.
Remember to talk to your dentist once you notice any sign of complication.
Tips To Promote Proper Healing
As stated earlier, your dentist will give you instructions that will help make healing smooth. Here are a few tips that will help:
- Don’t rinse your mouth for at least 24 hours to avoid disturbing the extraction site or dislodging the blood clot that has formed
- You can gently rinse your mouth with a salt water mouthwash after 24 hours – the mouthwash is made with salt and hot (not boiling) water, and you can rinse with it four times a day to keep the area clean and prevent infection
- If your gum bleeds when you have returned home, bite down on a clean material like a handkerchief for 15 minutes to control bleeding
- Stick to soft food after the procedure so that you don’t have to chew much
- Don’t drink alcohol for the first 24 hours at least, and avoid smoking for as long as possible
- You can start brushing after 24 hours, but keep the toothbrush away from the site of extraction, and use a very soft brush till you heal properly.
The points highlighted above will help you heal properly. Ideally, your dentist will tell you the same thing and provide further instructions on how to take good care of your mouth to promote healing and improve your oral health.
Here is a post-procedure checklist that can help:
- Book your follow-up appointment immediately after the procedure – even before leaving the dental clinic
- Follow the dentist’s instructions diligently when you get home
- Call your dentist when you experience any sign or symptom of a complication, including prolong bleeding and excessive pain
- Take the post-procedure medications as recommended by your physician.
How Painful Can Tooth Extraction Be?
The idea of having a tooth pulled from its socket is a little extreme, which is why so many people are concerned about how painful it can be. The truth, however, is that the procedure is not as painful as some people think it can be.
For several years, the procedure has been perfected by most dentists. When the procedure is performed by experienced dentists like Dr. Park, you can be sure that it will be as painless as possible.
As discussed already, tooth extraction is performed under strong anesthesia. Depending on the type of procedure, local anesthesia or general anesthesia can be used. Even when local anesthesia has been administered, additional anesthesia or sedation may be administered to make the procedure as painless as possible.
Post-operation pain is often not a big issue unless there is a complication. Following a successful tooth extraction, pain can be managed with over-the-counter medication. Some dentists may prescribe stronger painkillers, depending on some factors. There is no need to worry about pain as the benefits of tooth extraction often outweigh the pain you may feel for few days following the procedure.
Q: Is there an alternative for tooth extractions?
Tooth extractions are only recommended when a tooth is damaged beyond repair. If there is a chance that a tooth can be saved, Dr. Park will choose an alternative procedure – but once it is determined that a tooth extraction is necessary, it means there is no better alternative.
Q: Are tooth extractions painful procedures?
Tooth extractions aren’t very painful procedures. This may not have been the case in the past, but most dentists such as Dr. Park have perfected the procedure, otherwise you’ll be referred to an experienced oral surgeon if your case is especially complex. Considering that you will be under the right type of anesthesia for any procedure, it is almost a painless procedure.
Q: Where should I go for tooth extractions?
Q: Is tooth extraction a costly procedure?
Not really. While the cost of dental extractions vary significantly due to different factors, they aren’t very expensive procedures. The cost will also depend on the clinic you choose, so you should take time to choose a reputable dental clinic to keep the cost down and also increase your chances of having a successful procedure.
Q: How do I know I need a tooth extraction?
The best way to know that you need tooth extraction is to consult a dentist. The dentist will observe your dental issue and determine if extraction is the only viable solution.
Q: How long does the tooth extraction procedure take?
Tooth extractions are fairly straightforward procedures that can be complicated in less than 30 minutes. The time will actually depend on the type and nature of the procedure. Complex surgical procedures will take more time.
Q: Can I go home after a tooth extraction?
Yes, most dental extraction procedures can be completed in a matter of minutes, and you will go home almost immediately.
Q: How long does the numbness last after a tooth extraction?
The numbness following a tooth extraction can last for 10 to 12 hours.
Q: Can I eat after tooth extraction?
You can eat after a tooth extraction, but you don’t have to do that immediately afterward. Your dentist will tell you when to eat and the type of food you can eat until you are properly healed.
Q: Are tooth extractions safe procedures?
Yes, tooth extractions are a very safe procedure. There are few risks and possible complications, but most procedures are successful and complication-free. You will be okay, especially when you follow Dr. Park’s instructions diligently.
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