You may think that tooth extractions would be painful, but the reality is that this is far from the truth. The incredible advancements in dentistry over the past few decades have made it possible to quickly and painlessly extract teeth without causing any unnecessary discomfort.
Your teeth are held in a socket by a set of elastic fibers, and when a dentist uses highly specialized tools, these fibers can be loosened instead of completely severed. This allows for our dentists to easily remove damaged and unhealthy teeth without causing damage to the socket or surrounding jaw. Once the tooth is safely removed, we fill any damaged or unhealthy areas with bone grafting materials, allowing us to minimize any damage to the surrounding bone tissue.
Many times the teeth that we are looking to extract have yet to emerge or rupture, as in the case of wisdom teeth. If the tooth that needs to be extracted has yet to emerge, we use IV sedation to prevent any discomfort while we do the minor surgery necessary to extract the tooth. Once the tooth has been safely extracted and the surrounding area has been cleaned and secured, we can then replace the tooth with a dental implant or bridge.
When are Tooth removals Necessary?
Extractions are normally performed when there is extensive damage or trauma to a certain tooth and it has gotten to the point where it can no longer function. There are four primary reasons why we would recommend having a tooth extracted:
Tooth Extraction Procedure Details
Some extractions are categorized as simple, meaning they remove teeth that are visible in the mouth. Other extractions require a surgical procedure to remove teeth that cannot be easily seen or reached in the mouth. Surgical extractions remove teeth that have not fully erupted, or grown, into the mouth, or teeth that have broken off at the gum line.
During a simple extraction, Dr. Pearson completely numbs the affected tooth so you do not feel anything. You may choose to receive nitrous oxide or take an oral sedative medication to help you relax for the extraction. Once you are numb and comfortable, Dr. Pearson uses special forceps and an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth from the surrounding bone. Then, the loosened tooth is removed from the mouth.
A surgical extraction is more complicated and requires different techniques. Gum or bone tissue covering or surrounding the tooth may be cut and lifted back or removed in order to extract the tooth. Dr. Pearson may use dental lasers instead of traditional instruments to help remove the tooth with less risk of damaging the surrounding structures.
Stitches are usually needed at the extraction site; absorbable sutures dissolve on their own and traditional sutures are removed after a week or so.
Tooth Extraction Recovery and Aftercare
Immediately following the extraction, you are asked to bite firmly down on a piece of gauze. This applies gentle pressure to the extraction site and promotes blood clotting.
In the two days right after tooth extraction, you must avoid anything that could dislodge your blood clot and affect your healing progress — this includes smoking, spitting forcefully, rinsing your mouth or drinking through a straw. A soft foods diet is highly recommended, as the area around the extraction site is likely to feel tender.
Swelling and mild discomfort are common right after a tooth extraction. Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually recommended. Dr. Pearson provides instructions for managing the swelling and minimizing discomfort. She also explains in detail how to brush and floss while your mouth heals.
Initial healing takes approximately five to seven days. The extraction site should fully heal within three to four weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Extractions
Why do wisdom teeth need to be extracted?
Wisdom teeth do not need to be extracted if they have grown into the mouth completely, are healthy, support a healthy bite and can be kept clean with brushing and flossing.
But because wisdom teeth are the last teeth to “erupt,” often they do not have room to grow properly. They may grow into the mouth at different angles or even horizontally, or crowd the nearby teeth, potentially damaging them. Also, because wisdom teeth are at the back of the mouth, they can be difficult to reach with a toothbrush and floss. Dr. Pearson and our team keep a close eye on wisdom teeth and recommend extraction when appropriate.
What is “dry socket?”
Dry socket is a complication of tooth extraction that happens when blood either does not clot in the socket or the clot is dislodged. Because the underlying bone and nerves are exposed, dry socket is usually quite painful.
What are the best foods to eat after a tooth extraction?
Liquids and soft foods are the easiest to tolerate right after tooth extractions. Shakes like Ensure are popular, as are pudding, mashed potatoes, yogurt and ice cream. Soups that do not have chunks of meat or vegetables are also a good idea. When eating, you should chew on the side of your mouth opposite the extraction site.
Contact Essentially Pure Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
For more information about tooth extractions, please call or email our office today.