Teeth are extracted for a variety of reasons:
- Decay has reached deep into the tooth
- Infection has destroyed a large portion of the tooth or the surrounding bone
- There is not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth
Many dentists recommend extracting impacted wisdom teeth that are only not yet erupted or partially erupted. Bacteria can enter under the gum tissue around a partially erupted tooth and cause an infection, called pericoronitis, which can extend into the surrounding bone and cause severe pain and swelling. Impacted teeth continue trying to break through the gum tissue even if there is not enough room to accommodate them. The continued pressure caused by this attempted eruption can eventually put pressure on the adjacent teeth and cause tooth crowding. Removing a tooth that is impacted can often prevent infection, damage to adjacent teeth and bone, and save pain in the years to come.
How are Teeth Removed?
Before a tooth is removed, we will thoroughly review your medical and dental history and take the appropriate X-rays.
X-rays reveal the length, shape, and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. From this information, we can estimate the degree of difficulty of the procedure and decide whether to refer you to a specialist called an oral surgeon.
Before removal, the area around your tooth will be anesthetized. We will use a local anesthetic to numb the area of the extraction.
For a simple extraction, once the area is anesthetized, the tooth is loosened with the help of a dental tool called an elevator, then extracted with dental forceps. When the extraction is finished, we may choose to close the area with a stitch.
What should you Expect After an Extraction?
It is critical to keep the area clean and prevent infection immediately following the removal of a tooth. Right after the procedure, it is necessary to bite down gently on a piece of sterile gauze, which you must keep in place for up to 45-60 minutes to limit bleeding while clotting takes place. For the next 72 hours, you shouldn’t smoke, drink through the straw, rinse your mouth with any over-the-counter mouthwash, or clean the teeth next to the extraction site.
A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction. In some cases, a prescription for the pain relief medication will be given to you. It may help to apply an ice pack to the face for 15 minutes at a time. You may also want to limit strenuous activity, as well as avoid hot liquids. The day after the extraction, you should begin gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (do not swallow the water). Usually, discomfort lessens within three to seven days. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, please contact our office.