Tooth Extractions: What to Expect
Although it sounds complicated, a tooth extraction is a routine procedure that is painless when performed by an experienced dentist or oral surgeon.
Causes for Tooth Extraction
There are many reasons why your dentist would recommend extracting one or more teeth. One of the most common reasons is due to severe tooth decay that is not reasonable to save. In these cases, an extraction is performed to prevent infection and also make the patient more comfortable.
Your dentist may also recommend extraction for impacted teeth, malfunctioning teeth or teeth that are hard to clean, such as the wisdom teeth. Removal of wisdom teeth can prevent crowding and may also be more prone to causing inflammation or infection if they do not fully emerge.
Although there are exceptions, most tooth extraction procedures are simple and last only a couple of minutes. At Harvest Pointe Dental, we will have already taken x-rays of the teeth prior to the procedure. We will then use a numbing agent for the tooth, gum and bone to make our patients feel as comfortable as possible. Once the extraction begins, patients should feel only pressure – not pain. There are usually two types of extraction procedures; Simple extraction and the surgical extraction.
The simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth clearly. Your dentist will loosen the teeth using an elevator and a pair of forceps to remove the loosened tooth. The surgical extraction is a more complex practice. When a tooth has broken off in the gum or has failed to come out in the mouth as required, a surgical extraction is, therefore, done to remove the tooth. Surgical extraction may even involve cutting the tooth in halves to extract it smoothly.
Following a dental extraction, your dentist will have a very specific set of instructions for caring for the extraction site in the hours and days following the tooth removal. Usually, this involves leaving gauze on the extraction site to minimize bleeding for the first few hours.
Depending on the type of tooth extraction performed, you may also prescribe medication to help relieve pain for the first few days following the procedure. So long as the extraction site is kept clean and patients follow the instructions for care, the gums should heal in a matter of weeks without complication or infection. Furthermore, if necessary and once the extraction site heals, your dentist can replace one or more missing teeth with a bridge, a denture or a permanent dental implant for both functional and aesthetic purposes.