When a tooth is unable to be repaired, your dentist may recommend an extraction, which is the removal of the problematic tooth. Other reasons for extracting a tooth include:
- When a tooth is preventing other teeth from erupting or damaging your existing teeth.
- During orthodontic treatment where additional space is needed to align the teeth.
- When a tooth is impacted because there is insufficient room for the tooth to erupt into mouth or the tooth is erupting in an unfavourable position causing discomfort and/or infection. This most commonly occurs with wisdom teeth (also known as third molars).
The Tooth Extraction Procedure
It begins with an x-ray of the area to plan the extraction. Sometimes a course of antibiotics may be required prior to the extraction.
At this consult, your dentist will be able to determine whether you require a simple or surgical extraction. A simple extraction will be performed by your dentist who will loosen the tooth and then use forceps to remove it. In more complicated cases, a surgical extraction will be required. In this case, your dentist will make a small incision and possibly perform other processes to facilitate the removal of the tooth.
Both simple and surgical extractions can be performed with local or general anesthetic depending on your specific needs.
After the tooth is removed, the area will need time to heal. You will be prescribed medication to manage the discomfort, but you can help speed the process along.
Here are some tips:
- Rinse your mouth several times a day (after the first day) with warm salt water to reduce swelling and keep bacteria at bay. One teaspoon of salt in an 8-oz glass is all you need.
- Bite down on gauze if bleeding continues.
- Sleep with your head propped up. Lying flat can prolong bleeding.
- Stay off your feet for a day or two if that has been recommended.
- Continue brushing and flossing but be very careful around the extraction area.
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat soft foods.
- Avoid using straws
Depending on the procedure, stitches may be necessary. Some stitches dissolve on their own, while others must be removed during a subsequent visit. Your dentist or oral surgeon will let you know which kind you have after the procedure has been completed.
The advantages of tooth extractions
The problem will be resolved quickly and without discomfort.
The disadvantages of tooth extractions
The tooth that is removed may need to be replaced.
Tooth Extractions Q&A
A dry socket is the most common complication resulting from a tooth extraction, and it typically occurs one to three days after the extraction. It is caused when the blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction fails to develop, dislodges or dissolves before the wound has healed. The clot serves as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. The clot also provides the foundation for the growth of new bone and for the development of soft tissue over the clot.
Symptoms of dry socket include:
– Significant discomfort that develops within a few days following a tooth extraction
– Visible bone in the socket
– Pain that radiates from the socket to your ear, eye, temple or neck on the same side of your face
– Bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth
To avoid a dry socket, keep your mouth as clean as possible before and after your extraction. If you smoke refrain from this activity after your extraction.
The procedure itself is quite comfortable as the local anesthetic will be able to manage your discomfort. You may experience discomfort once the anesthetic wears off, but your dentist or oral surgeon will most likely prescribe medication to manage this discomfort.
Healing time depends on the patient and the tooth being extracted. Your dentist will be able to advise you on what to expect after the procedure is completed.
Yes, but extractions are not typically performed in this manner.
It depends on the procedure required to remove the tooth. Generally it is recommended to avoid the area until the area has begun healing which can take a few days.
Yes. It can be replaced with an implant, denture or bridge. Your dentist will review all the treatment options available at your initial consult.
Generally, yes. Extraction is only recommended when no other reasonable treatment options are available.
Many factors impact the cost of a tooth extraction. At your initial assessment, your dentist will be able to provide a cost estimate for the extraction. Once your dentist has had an opportunity to examine your mouth, they can send a cost estimate to your insurer to determine if the proposed treatment is covered under your dental plan.
Do you have prolonged tooth pain?
Book an appointment with your dentist who will examine the area and determine whether an extraction is required.