An extraction is the complete removal of a primary or a permanent tooth. An extraction can be surgical or non-surgical. This depends on the difficulty of the extraction and whether or not the tooth is impacted or erupted, and whether it has straight or curved roots. An extraction may be done by our office or you may be referred to an oral surgeon (someone who specializes in difficult or surgical extractions). No one looks forward to an extraction, but modern anesthesia will help keep you comfortable throughout the procedure.
Why are Teeth Removed?
Teeth are extracted for a variety of reasons:
- Decay has reached deep into the tooth
- Infection has destroyed a large portion of the tooth or surrounding bone
- There is not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth
How are Teeth Removed?
- Before a tooth is removed, your medical and dental history will thoroughly be reviewed and the appropriate X-rays are taken.
- X-rays reveal the length, shape, and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. From this information, we can estimate the degree of difficulty of the procedure and decide whether to refer you to a specialist called an oral surgeon.
- Before removal, the area around your tooth will be anesthetized. We use a local anesthetic to numb the area of the mouth where the extraction will take place.
- For a simple extraction, once the area is anesthetized, the tooth is loosened and then extracted with special tools.
What can I Expect After an Extraction?
It is critical to keep the area clean and prevent infection immediately following the removal of a tooth. You will be asked to bite down gently on a piece of dry, sterile gauze, which you must keep in place for up to 30 to 45 minutes to limit bleeding while clotting takes place. For the next 24 hours, you shouldn’t smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously, or clean the teeth next to the extraction site.
A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction. In some cases, we will prescribe a painkiller for you. It may help to apply an ice pack to the face for 15 minutes at a time. You may also want to limit strenuous activity, as well as avoid hot liquids and not drink through a straw. The day after the extraction, we may suggest that you begin gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Under normal circumstances, discomfort should lessen within three days to two weeks.