Tooth extractions involve pulling damaged or unwanted teeth from their positions in the jawbone. Surgical tooth extraction is the most common surgery performed in the United States and has been known to cause anxiety in patients. Knowing the details surrounding the procedure and what to expect afterward may help calm any fear and prepare the patient for the procedure.
When are tooth extractions recommended?
Factors that lead to tooth extraction include trauma to the teeth due to a hard blow to the jaw, severe tooth decay or gum disease and insufficient space in the dental arch. In some situations, extractions may be the only way to restore comfort, but in other cases, the dentist may suggest alternative treatment, such as a root canal, to save the tooth. Before proceeding with tooth extractions, the dentist will discuss all the options available.
Note that an orthodontist may recommend one or more extractions before commencing orthodontic treatment due to crowded teeth. Wisdom teeth are often always extracted because they erupt awkwardly behind the molars.
Tooth extractions can be performed by the general dentist or an oral surgeon. The specialist required for the procedure is determined by the severity or complexity of the extraction. Tooth extraction can be of two types: simple extraction and surgical extraction.
This procedure is performed on a tooth that has erupted and is visible in the mouth. A general dentist usually performs these extractions, although it may also be handled by an oral surgeon. It involves administering local anesthesia on the gum around the tooth to be extracted. The dentist will apply pressure on the tooth using a forceps to loosen the teeth enough to lift it out of the socket.
If the tooth is broken, the dentist will need to remove the fragments of the tooth separately. Sometimes, surgery may be necessary if the fragments are embedded in the bone. A simple extraction may require splitting the tooth into parts to make extraction easier.
The patient may feel significant pressure in the area during tooth extraction, but the anesthesia will suppress any pain. There may be a bit of jaw pain afterward caused by opening the mouth wide for a long time, but the dentist will do their best to keep the jaw relaxed. You should be back to normal within a few days after the procedure.
If a troublesome tooth is trapped in the gum and has yet to erupt, the dentist will need to remove gum tissues or bone to remove the tooth. This process is called surgical extraction, and the area has to be stitched to ensure proper healing. Surgical extraction is commonly performed for an impacted wisdom tooth. The dentist will recommend pain meds to cope with the discomfort after the procedure.
Tooth extractions may sound a bit scary, but modern tools and techniques, as well as anesthesia, have made the procedure more comfortable. After the removal, you and the dentist can talk about different tooth restoration options to fill in the gap.
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