There might come a time when a tooth cannot be saved and must be extracted. Tooth extraction is a fairly common and standard dental procedure, but many patients face it with apprehension and fear. In order to assuage these fears, we’ve created this article to help you understand the ins and outs of tooth extraction, whether it’s a simple wisdom teeth removal or otherwise.
When would you need one?
Most tooth extractions revolve around the wisdom teeth, and for good reason. Wisdom teeth grow in a different direction and cause impaction of the other teeth, which can cause great discomfort or pain and necessitate an extraction.
Other causes that necessitate an extraction are:
- Decay has gone deep into the tooth
- An infection has destroyed a large part of a tooth or the surrounding bone
- Your teeth are overcrowded in your mouth
- You have grown an extra tooth that is preventing other teeth from growing in
- The baby teeth are coming out too late
- It is part of the preparation for an orthodontic adjustment procedure.
How does the preparation for the surgery go?
The preparation before the tooth extraction begins with your dentist taking several X-rays to reveal the length, shape, and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. From there, the dentist will determine how hard it will be to extract the tooth. The greater the degree of difficulty, the more likely they will refer you to an oral surgeon.
On the day of the procedure, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. For more complicated procedures, they may introduce anesthesia through an IV. In the latter case, you might have to stay at the hospital or be driven home as your anesthesia wears off.
How does the procedure actually go?
The two types of extractions can be described as follows:
- The simple extraction. This is done on teeth that are already visible in the mouth and can be performed by a general dentist. After the tooth has been numbed, the dentist will loosen the tooth with a dental instrument known as an elevator before removing it with a pair of forceps.
- The surgical extraction. This is performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line or have not grown enough to be visible on the mouth yet. It is performed by an oral surgeon, but sometimes by general dentists. During this procedure, the doctor will make a small incision into the gum and remove the tooth beneath. In some cases, they may need to remove some of the bone around the teeth or cut the tooth in segments to extract it.
What happens after?
After the procedure, your dentist will ask you to bite down on a sterile piece of dry gauze for up to 45 minutes to limit the bleeding while clotting takes place. After that, they will advise against physically stimulating your mouth too vigorously for 24 hours. They will also prohibit you from smoking, drinking through a straw, enjoying hot liquids, participating in strenuous activity, and eating grainy foods.
You should expect some discomfort or pain in the next two to three weeks, for which you might be prescribed painkillers. It is recommended that you also try to alleviate this pain with 15-minute ice pack sessions to reduce pain and swelling. If the pain persists beyond that, make sure to consult your dentist or oral surgeon.
Whatever you might need a tooth extraction for, it is important to understand what is needed and how it works. This will help you prepare for the challenges that lie ahead by buying and preparing the right food, preparing ice packs, painkillers, and so on. By knowing and understanding these considerations, you can make your recovery smoother and less painful.
If you need the help of a dentist in Ann Arbor and Waterford for wisdom tooth extraction or any other dental procedure, send us a message at Dental House MI. We have the experience needed to make this as uncomfortable as possible for you.