Every effort is made to save your tooth. However, when the risk of bacteria spreading and affecting other teeth turns high, the best option left to ensure good oral health sometimes is extracting the tooth.
There are various reasons why a tooth extraction may be necessary, including:
- To create space for the permanent teeth to develop, especially when the baby teeth do not fall out
- The tooth is too infected or decayed that restoring or saving it is impossible.
- To provide room for adjustments, especially for those undergoing orthodontic treatment
- The risk of infection or bacteria spreading becomes high.
- To remove extra teeth that may be blocking other teeth
- An impacted wisdom tooth is present.
There are two kinds of dental extractions – simple and surgical.
There are two kinds of tooth extraction – simple and surgical.
- General dentists commonly perform a simple extraction on a fully erupted or noticeably visible tooth in the mouth. The dentist uses an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to remove it.
- On the one hand, oral surgeons often perform surgical extraction wherein a small incision is made into the gums to remove a tooth that has broken off at the gum line or has not come out. General dentists can also perform a surgical extraction.
How is the tooth extracted?
Tooth extraction begins with a dental X-ray of the area to properly view the tooth's location, circumstances surrounding it and plan the most suitable way to extract it.
Before undergoing an extraction, it is best to inform your dentist or oral surgeon about your dental and medical history and the medications you are currently taking. Full disclosure of your health history will help your dentist create a treatment plan that matches your needs and condition without putting your health at risk.
Following an X-ray, anesthesia will be administered to relax you, numb you of the impending pain, make you sleep or unconscious during the surgery. Local anesthesia is a medicine injected into the gums or inner cheek. The most common local anesthetic is Lidocaine.
After your tooth is removed, your dentist will ask you to bite on a piece of gauze and give you instructions including some dos and don’ts.
What happens after my tooth got pulled out?
You might feel discomfort that can be reduced by taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. You can consult your dentist for further information. Also, you can reduce swelling by putting ice packs on the area in a 20-minute interval.
Swelling and bleeding can last a day or two following the tooth extraction. Initial healing will then take two weeks at the very least. Wash your mouth with warm salt water 24 hours after the surgery to clean the area. The saltwater rinse will consist of a half teaspoon of salt and a cup of warm water.
Be wary of problems like a dry socket, which happens in about three to four percent of extractions. A dry socket arises when a blood clot does not form in the extracted tooth area or when it breaks down earlier than expected.
When a dry socket happens, the bone which lies beneath is exposed to air and food, causing pain and bad odor and taste.
Aside from a dry socket, you must also look out for other problems such as accidental damage to surrounding teeth, an incomplete extraction wherein a tooth root remains in the jaw, a fractured jaw, soreness, among others.
When severe swelling, fever, chills, trouble swallowing, uncontrolled bleeding, or too much pain are experienced, consult with your dentist when such complications or problems arise.
What should I do after getting my tooth extracted?
- You can apply an ice pack to the area where you had your procedure to control the swelling. Do this for ten minutes at a time.
- Minimize your activities for a day or two, especially in the first 24 hours following the extraction.
- Adjustments to your diet will have to be made. Eat soft and cool foods for several days, then slowly return to your usual diet.
- Smoking is prohibited before, on the day, and at least 24 hours after the tooth extraction.
- Do not drink from a straw.
- Continue your basic oral hygiene routine, adding caution to the area where the tooth was extracted.
Tooth Extractions for Children
It may seem uncommon, but the extraction of a primary (baby) tooth indeed happens. If crowding is more apt to take place while the primary teeth replace the secondary teeth, then some primary teeth may need extraction. These planned extractions must form adequate room for the secondary teeth to emerge and to be correctly positioned.
The extractions may inhibit the later need for more intricate orthodontic treatment. If a primary tooth has been forced into the jaw or has caused damage to the hidden tooth, the primary tooth may have to be pulled out.
On the other hand, if an injury causes the death of the tooth's blood vessels and nerves, it may be necessary to pull out the tooth. However, if the pulp shows signs of infection and causes an abscess to form, extraction is needed.
Furthermore, the developing secondary tooth underneath may emerge with discoloration or malformation. Priority goes to the circumstance of the secondary tooth in many cases. Pain and bleeding are the primary indications of injury.
The crown of the tooth may be cracked, chipped, or entirely severed. The pain will differ by the degree of tooth damage.
This may be serious if an abscess develops. Chewing and biting then can cause discomfort or pain. On the other hand, a loose tooth caused by injury and incapable of being stabilized maybe need extraction.
Please note that observation over a few weeks will be a must to decide if the tooth will survive. More than that, splinting of the tooth by the dentist dramatically aids in the re-rooting process.
Brown to black discoloration may lead to the death of the blood vessel and nerves of the tooth. This occurs due to the breakdown of blood cells, similar to skin discoloration.
Extraction is called for when the decay is all over the place, and it can no longer be fixed with a crown or filling. It matters to know that extraction of a primary tooth may be inevitable when the decay has led to infection at the root's end. This sort of disease may cause discomfort and could significantly impact the development of the secondary tooth underneath.
The extraction of primary teeth, particularly the back teeth, enables adjacent teeth to move into space. What is more, the narrowing of this space may impact the natural breakout of the secondary teeth that shall replace them.
Meanwhile, the adjacent teeth' movement into space may lead to the crowding of the secondary teeth. In turn, this may require orthodontist treatment. The dentist may recommend a space-maintainer to ward off the moving of teeth.
How to Reduce Fear and Anxiety
- Before the procedure, know the whys and hows of it.
- To set your child's expectations, you must also know what to expect as well. Tooth extractions for children are a unique case because some of them still involve the baby teeth. These kinds of removals, then, usually take on other considerations. For instance, is the tooth visible or impacted? Are there other options available? Is it too late to wait for the permanent teeth to come out? Knowing the reason for the tooth extraction can guide parents in adjusting their children's expectations.
- The hows of the operation often succeed these whys. If, for instance, the reason for extraction is an abscess of the tooth, you might need to know how many teeth will be taken out. And if the tooth is impacted, you'll need to consider your anesthesia options.
- Knowing this, parents can then formulate how to prepare their children for the procedure skillfully. Parents with very fussy children may be given the option of general anesthesia, especially for kids with severe damage to their teeth. Regardless of the decision, however, it's always best to get your child's input when possible. Taking this into account can make things move smoothly on the day itself.
- During the procedure, let them be at their most comfortable
- Even if you worked through the whats and what-will-happens with your kids, things could unfold quite messily on the day itself. Fortunately, this doesn't always happen to be the case.
- While you can't always prevent the nerves, you can avoid any breakdowns at the dental chair by making them as comfortable as possible. You can take them in their comfy clothes, for instance. Or let them bring their favorite toys. The more they surround themselves with comfort items, the less stressful the situation will seem. Of course, it also pays to find the right dentist who can ease them through the procedure. Pediatric dentists are usually your best bet, as they are specially trained to take care of children.
- After the procedure, help facilitate the healing process.
- What happens after the procedure matters as much as before and during. The wrap-up cements your little one's impression of the dentist for life. You'll want to make sure the healing process goes as smoothly as possible. Immediately after the procedure, you might want them to stave off eating for a while, as their mouths may still be numb. Your child might accidentally chew the inner tissues by accident and cause serious injuries. You might also want to ensure that they do not rigorously spit, brush, or drink through a straw, as it could remove the blood clot at the site and cause a dry socket.