A tooth extraction is a procedure to remove a tooth from the gum socket due to several reasons most common reason is dental decay. Tooth extraction is one of the most common dental procedures which can eliminate bacteria and improve your overall oral health.
What is tooth extraction?
A tooth extraction is one of the common dental procedures during which the infected tooth is completely removed from its socket. Sometimes, people commonly call it as pulling a tooth.
When is tooth extraction recommended?
Healthcare providers prefer to save natural teeth whenever possible and if the condition is hopeless then only they will advise tooth extraction. Following are few conditions tooth extraction is inevitable
- A fractured tooth.
- An impacted tooth.
- Cracked tooth whose prognosis is hopeless.
- Mobile teeth due to gum diseases.
- Tooth luxation due to dental injuries or other reasons.
- Orthodontic corrections.
- Grossly decayed tooth due to dental caries.
- Retained deciduous teeth
- Tooth having cyst or tumor whose prognosis is poor.
- Tooth in the line of fracture line caused by road-traffic accidents.
- Extruded teeth with mobility
Before tooth extraction
Your dentist will examine your affected tooth and surrounding gums and will also take dental X-rays to check bone levels and determine the extent of damage. Ensure that your dentist is well aware with your systemic diseases and medications, vitamins or supplements. Once all information is gathered, treatment and sedation options will be discussed with you in detail to get any history of allergies etc.
Sedation options in dentistry
Sedation is a very good option for people who have dental anxiety, children’s, mentally challenged people or for those who simply want to be more comfortable during their appointment. Sedation options used in dentistry are as follows
Nitrous oxide Also Known as laughing gas, is a gas that you inhale through a mask or nosepiece. It’s a good option for people who need light level sedation. People who underwent nitrous oxide sedation procedure can drive themselves to and from their appointments.
Oral conscious sedation It is given through mouth, usually in pill form, about an hour before your dental appointment. Common medications used for this purpose include diazepam, midazolam, lorazepam, etc. Oral conscious sedation can be used on its own or in combination with nitrous oxide or intravenous sedation. Dosages are adjusted according to your specific needs. People who choose oral conscious sedation will need a friend or family member to drive them to and from their appointment.
Intravenous sedation It is recommended for people with significant dental anxiety or for those undergoing lengthy procedures. In this type of sedation the sedative and pain medications such as midazolam and meperidine are delivered directly to your bloodstream using an IV line. IV sedation is the highest level of sedation that can be obtained in a dental office setting.
General anesthesia In some instances, your dental provider may recommend general anesthesia in a hospital setting. This sedative option is usually reserved for complex cases, such as facial reconstruction or corrective jaw surgery etc.
During tooth extraction
First, local anesthesia is given to numb your affected tooth and surrounding gum tissues. Using specialized dental instruments, your dentist will gently luxate your tooth and carefully pull it out from its socket. Sometimes, your dentist might need to make incisions in your gums to access your tooth especially if your tooth is badly decayed and has broken off at the gum line. Once your tooth is removed, the socket is cleaned and disinfected and if needed your dentist may also place a dental bone graft, which helps prevent bone loss in your jaw. Finally, stitches may be placed to help promote healing and prevent it from getting reinfected due to food accumulation etc.
After tooth extraction
When the extraction procedure is complete, your dentist will place a piece of gauze over the extraction site and ask you to close with steady pressure. This helps in slowing the blood flow so that a blood clot can form. You’ll take the gauze out once the bleeding has stopped or slowed down. You may continue to have light bleeding throughout the first 24 hours of the treatment.
Risks or complications of tooth extraction
Like any surgical procedure, tooth extraction carries few risk or complications. These may as follows
- Post-surgical infections.
- Dry socket formation.
- Nerve injury or damage.
- Perforation of maxillary sinuses.
- Delayed healing due to underlying systemic conditions.
- Hematoma formation.
- Secondary infections.
Tooth extraction aftercare
After your extraction procedure, your dentist will give you a detailed list of post-surgical instructions. Here are some general guidelines for a speedy and healthyrecovery:
Keep the extraction site clean and neat. Gently rinse the area with an antimicrobial mouthwash two to three times a day and avoid brushing directly over your extraction site until your dentist tells you it’s safe to do so. Brush and floss all other areas normally to maintain good oral hygiene.
Take all medications as directed by your dentist and he/she may prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers. It’s important to take all of these medications exactly as directed to prevent any overdose problems.
Avoid strenuous activity or exercise for at least two days. An elevated heart rate can cause increased post-operative bleeding and discomfort.
Avoid eating hard and crunchy foods for the first few days. Stock your fridge and pantry with soft foods like rice, pasta, eggs, yogurt, etc. You’ll also want to avoid drinking through straws, as this can dislodge blood clots and cause dry sockets, and it may also start bleeding also.
Most people are able to return to work or school within a day or two. If you have a job that requires a lot of lifting or physical labor, you may need to take a few more days off work to prevent stress.
Any time you develop a toothache or severe dental pain, it’s important to schedule a visit with your dentist.
Visit your doctor after a week for suture removal and follow-up.