WHAT IS A TOOTH EXTRACTION?
Tooth extraction involves removing a tooth from its socket in the jaw bone. This procedure is sometimes necessary, especially when every other effort made by the dentist to save and maintain the tooth in the oral cavity wasn’t successful.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR TOOTH EXTRACTION?
- Severe tooth damage: when repair is no longer an option.
- A crowded mouth: Sometimes dentists have to make tooth extractions in order to prepare the oral cavity for orthodontic treatment. One of the main objectives of orthodontics is to align teeth in the oral cavity, but this can be affected by teeth that are too big for your mouth. Also, when there are teeth that haven’t erupted and there is no room in oral cavity for it, orthodontist may recommend pulling it.
- Supernumerary teeth (extra teeth): They should be removed when block passage for other teeth to erupt.
- Infection: If tooth decay or damage extends to the pulp, bacteria can enter the pulp and lead to infection and inflammation, it is often treated with root canal treatment, but if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or RCT do not cure, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection.
- Risk of infection: If your immune system is compromised by overall health conditions, chemotherapy, radiation or are having an organ transplant, the risk of infection in a particular tooth may be reason enough for extraction.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TELL YOUR DENTIST BEFORE SURGERY?
Before having a tooth pulled, tell the dentist your complete medical history, the medications and supplements you take and if you have or had any of the following conditions:
- Allergies to any medication
- Congenital heart defect
- Liver disease
- Osteoporosis and you are taking Bisphosphonates
- Impaired immune system
- History of bacterial endocarditis
WHAT TYPES OF PROCEDURES EXIST?
Before an extraction, the dental professional will inquire about your medical and dental history, he/she will do a clinical exam and will also take X-rays. Depending on your case, sometimes antibiotics are needed before and after surgery, they are generally given to patients with infection or weakened immune systems, elderly, or young people.
Some people get nervous with the procedure, so an option is to be sedated for a tooth extraction. Sedation in dentistry include oral sedatives, intravenous sedatives (It is administered to your veins by injection), or nitrous oxide.
At the time of extraction your dentist will anesthetize the area surrounding the tooth to be extracted with local anesthesia in order to prevent any pain or discomfort.
There are two types of procedures:
- Simple extraction
- Surgical extraction: This procedure is generally more complex, because it happens when a tooth has not yet broken through the gum line or has not yet fully erupted.
WHAT POST-OPERATIVE CARE SHOULD I TAKE?
After the extraction procedure, your dentist will send you home to rest. Recovery typically takes between 3-4 days depending on severity of the surgery. There are some methods and medications you can take at home that can help minimize the discomfort you may feel. Swelling, infection, pain, etc. are all symptoms patients can experience while on the road to recovery. Here are some recommendations to help with the recovery:
- Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist
- Apply ice to the affected area immediately after the procedure to minimize swelling.
- Do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours after the procedure.
- Have a liquid diet (soup, pudding, yogurt, milkshakes, ice cream, milk, fruit juice) the same day and the day after the extraction and gradually add solid diet as the extraction site heals.
- Limit activity for the next day or two.
- Do not use straws for the first 24 hours.
- Avoid smoking
- After 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth with homemade water-and-salt washes (1/2 teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of water)
- Brush your teeth and tongue normally, also floss, avoiding the extraction site.
WHEN TO CALL THE DENTIST?
If bleeding or pain is still present and is severe; more than 12 hours after tooth extraction, you should call the dental professional, and also if you are having one of the following:
- Fever and chills
- Presence of pus
- Redness and swelling that doesn’t seem to be going away.