- Dentists try to save natural teeth with fillings, endodontic treatments or dental crowns. Tooth extraction is performed only when other options are impossible.
- Teeth may need to be extracted due to trauma, neglect, infection, overcrowding or impaction. There are two types of tooth extraction: simple and surgical.
- Complications of tooth extraction include nerve damage, infection, and dry socket.
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Are you worried you may need tooth extraction? Here's everything you need to know.
Reasons for tooth extraction
Before removing a tooth, dentists always try fillings, endodontic treatment, or partial restoration such as dental crowns. Extraction is performed when all this fails. The most common reasons for removing teeth include:
a neglected or dead tooth,
infection or risk of infection,
Teeth that have suffered trauma or are infected may need emergency removal. Overcrowded teeth are often pulled before orthodontic work is done. When it comes to impaction, when left alone, these teeth might lead to infections and severe pain.
Types of tooth extraction
Extractions are an integral part of dentistry. At times, teeth may be relatively simple to remove, but oral surgery may be inevitable. Have a look at how extractions are categorized.
Simple tooth extraction
Simple extraction mainly concerns dentition that has broken through the gums. This means:
whole or intact teeth that are visible in the mouth,
dead teeth, and
Baby teeth are relatively simple to remove. Pediatric dentists do this when the growth of permanent teeth in children doesn’t synchronize with the falling out of primary dentition. The body might try to absorb it back. That can be dangerous and those baby teeth have to be pulled.
If the patient has serious dental anxiety, sedation, most commonly laughing gas, can be administered before the tooth extraction procedure. Otherwise, a local anesthetic will be used to numb your mouth.
During a follow-up visit, the dentist will check healing and remove sutures if necessary.
Surgical tooth extraction
Some teeth have to be extracted surgically. This type of tooth removal involves cutting and lifting mucosal tissue (a part of your gum). The tooth might have to be cut up into smaller parts. This way the opening doesn’t have to be as big and healing is faster.
A surgical procedure is often necessary when teeth are impacted or broken. The first mainly concerns wisdom teeth. If not removed, this could lead to possible infection or crowding (not enough space in the mouth for all your teeth).
A local anesthetic is sometimes enough. For partially-bony and fully-bony impactions, you might have to be sedated. Some family dentists refuse to undertake such cases. You then have to go to an oral surgeon.
A coronectomy is performed when there is a risk of hurting the inferior dental nerve. Such damage, if not permanent, can result in weeks of numbness in the tongue, lower lip, chin, teeth, and gums. Talking and eating is then very difficult.
After a surgical extraction, the site is most commonly stitched up with self-dissolving materials. You will get a gauze pad to bite down on to control the bleeding. It’s a good idea to schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure the extraction site is healing properly.
What are tooth extraction complications?
Complications take place when you don’t follow dentists’ instructions closely. Sometimes they may happen if you’re simply unlucky. Either way, you should be aware of the signs that point to a problem, namely nerve damage, infection, and dry socket.
If tooth extraction pain lasts for longer than 3 days or if you lose the sense of touch or taste, you could be at risk of nerve damage. Contact your dentist as soon as possible. Preventative antibiotics are controversial, but they’re a popular solution to possible infections.
If a patient who recently had a tooth removed uses straws or brushes the surgical area aggressively, the blood clot can become dislodged. Professional treatment is not necessary, a new blood clot should form. Nonetheless, it is very uncomfortable.
How long does tooth extraction take?
The whole thing usually takes about an hour. You may have to take an oral sedative or be hooked up to an IV 60 minutes before the procedure starts. Higher forms of sedation also mean you might feel drowsy the next day.