Professional teeth whitening treatments are one of the most affordable ways to drastically improve the way that your smile looks. Not being happy with the way your teeth look can make you self-conscious and less willing to smile during interactions. The appropriate age to start whitening teeth is around the age of 13. At this point,…
Tooth Extraction: Everything You Need to Know
Tooth extraction is sometimes required to preserve a person's dental and overall health. The extraction of a permanent tooth is a surgical procedure that typically involves the use of an anesthetic. It is one of those procedures many people dread, but the truth is there is little pain involved. What patients will deal with is some soreness as they recover from the treatment.
When is a tooth extraction needed?
There are a number of reasons why a dentist might decide to remove a permanent tooth.
Common reasons why a patient might need an extraction include:
- A tooth that has been severely damaged by trauma or decay to the point it cannot be restored: In such cases, the dentist would typically extract the tooth and replace it with an implant
- An impacted tooth: The wisdom teeth come out last, and there is not always enough space for them on the jaw. This can lead to the tooth getting stuck under the gumline or growing into neighboring teeth. Since wisdom teeth are not necessary, dentists usually opt to extract them the first time a problem develops. There is no need to replace a wisdom tooth with a restoration
- Crowded teeth: At times, a person's jaw does not have enough space to hold all of their teeth and this typically leads to alignment issues like crowded teeth. In some cases, the dentist might need to extract one or more teeth to create more room before proceeding with orthodontic treatments
- Infection: Dentists sometimes choose to extract infected teeth, especially if there is a risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body. This is usually done as a last resort when it is too late to save the tooth with a root canal
What to expect during a tooth extraction
The two main types of extractions are simple and surgical. Anesthetics are typically used with both types of extractions.
If the tooth has already erupted and it is not in a problematic position, then a simple extraction is all that is needed. This consists of the dentist loosening up the tooth and using forceps to put it and its roots out.
An impacted tooth or one that has not completely erupted will require surgical extraction. This involves making an incision into the patient's gum so the tooth can be reached.
Life after an extraction
Once a tooth has been removed, the dentist will use gauze to control any blood coming from the socket. A clot will form within a few hours. The clot serves a major role as it prevents the nerves in the socket from being irritated.
Patients are advised to avoid sucking motions after an extraction as it can lead to the clot being dislodged. This condition is called dry socket and it can lead to severe discomfort. It takes anywhere between a week and two weeks to recover from an extraction. During this period, the patient should:
- Take any painkillers or antibiotics prescribed as recommended
- Avoid using straws
- Avoid foods that can aggravate the site of the extraction
- Avoid brushing and using mouthwash for the first few days after the procedure. Saltwater should be used to clean the mouth instead
Need an extraction?
Call or stop by our San Dimas office to set up an appointment and to discuss ways to replace the extracted tooth.
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