When a tooth needs to be removed, this is called an extraction. While not all problems with teeth require removal, extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future.
Extraction of a tooth is necessary if the tooth cannot be saved by a root canal or other dental procedure. Usually performed under local anesthesia or general/IV sedation, teeth extractions do not require an overnight stay in a hospital.
Common reasons for a tooth extraction in TX include broken or decayed teeth, abscessed teeth, or any tooth that cannot be restored. Recovery from an extraction is based on your health and the number of teeth extracted.
Special dental tools used to extract a tooth and its root are called elevators (to lift the tooth out) and dental forceps (to rock the tooth back and forth until it loosens). You won’t feel anything but pressure when you have a tooth extracted because a powerful numbing agent blocks nerve pain in the socket and gum area surrounding the tooth.
Following teeth extraction, the dentist will insert a “bite pack” or wad of gauze into the empty socket and ask you to bite down on the gauze. This stops the bleeding and allows a blood clot to form in the socket.
Recovering From Teeth Extraction
To prevent dislodging the blood clot after having your tooth pulled, you will be instructed to:
- Avoid touching the empty socket with your tongue or finger
- Avoid strenuous activity
- Avoid rinsing your mouth out vigorously
- Not use a straw to drink liquids
- Not smoke for 24 to 48 hours
Following teeth extraction, your jawbone (alveolar bone) will slowly re-absorb the area surrounding the socket to compensate for the lost tooth. Neglecting to replace a lost tooth may cause rotation and “drifting” of your adjacent teeth over the gap. Consequently, your dentist will want to discuss teeth replacement options with you after an extraction procedure, such as bridges, dental implants, or dentures.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Wisdom teeth are usually the last to come in and are located in the back on both top and bottom of your mouth. Inadequate space usually makes it difficult for these teeth to come in properly. If this happens your dentist may refer to these teeth as being impacted. Impacted teeth can lead to pain, infection and even damage to other teeth.
There are several types of impaction:
- Soft tissue impaction: The tooth is covered by only soft tissue. This area may become infected because it is difficult to remove debris and keep clean.
- Partial Bony impaction: These teeth are partially out, but there is a portion that is still below the bone. Again these teeth may also be prone to infection.
- Complete Bony impaction: These teeth are completely covered in bone and can be difficult to remove.
Teeth extraction is common and is performed under local anesthesia. For difficult cases a specialist might use intravenous (IV) or general sedation for dental surgery. The surgery is outpatient and does not require overnight hospital stay. Following any extraction your Dentist will give you specific home care instructions for how to best care for the extraction sites.