Why are Teeth Removed?
Everyone experiences losing their teeth as a child. However, adults can end up losing teeth too. Tooth extraction is sometimes necessary to save your other teeth and for the sake of your overall oral health.
A tooth extraction is sometimes necessary when a tooth cannot be saved for various reasons. Reasons can include advanced decay, abscesses and split or cracked cusps and roots.
Occasionally, teeth may be removed for orthodontic reasons. If your mouth is overcrowded, some teeth may need to be removed to make room for orthodontia to be effective. Impacted teeth, such as wisdom teeth that have not fully erupted, can potentially cause long-term problems such as infection and may necessitate removal.
Extractions can range from a single tooth to taking out all four wisdom teeth at once depending on the patient’s specific dental needs. Our office is experienced in many types of oral surgery procedures, from single tooth extraction to multiple teeth, including wisdom teeth or third molar extractions.
The Extraction Procedure
Tooth extractions are only performed by dentists and oral surgeons because you need special training and experience to perform surgery. Once you and your dentist have agreed that an extraction is necessary, the preparation and procedure is fairly straightforward. Here’s what you can expect.
Step 1: Initial Assessment
Your dentist will perform a visual inspection of your mouth and take X-rays to help determine the current health of your teeth and gums. In addition, they will want to review your medical history.
Conditions that are especially important for your dentist to know about include heart defects or damaged valves, liver or thyroid disease, hypertension, adrenal disease, impaired immune system, bacterial endocarditis and a weakened immune system. It is vital that you communicate your past and current medical conditions to your dentist to avoid any unnecessary complications.
Step 2: Dress for the Occasion
If it has been determined that you will need anesthesia for the procedure, you will want to wear comfortable clothes and make sure your dentist can easily access the point of entry for anesthesia.
Step 3: The Actual Extraction
The extraction process will depend on the state of the tooth. If it is impacted, the dentist will cut the gum and tissue that covers the tooth and gently rock the tooth back and forth to dislodge it from the bone. If the tooth is challenging to remove, it may need to be taken out of the mouth in pieces. This type of removal generally requires the use of anesthesia.
For a tooth that is not impacted or is easier to remove, your dentist may be able to apply a local anesthetic instead of using anesthesia and may not have to remove tissue or bone. A tool called an elevator can be used to compress the tooth to the bone making removal easier.
The actual extraction procedure will depend on several factors including the condition of the tooth as well as location, how long the tooth root is and how dense the bone is that holds the tooth in place.
Step 4: Schedule a Ride Home Ahead of Time
If you have to be unconscious for your procedure you will not be able to drive yourself home afterwards. If your dentist recommends a local anesthetic, you may still want to have a family member or friend give you a ride, as you will probably be sore and may not be feeling your best.
A Few Things to Note
There are some things you can do to set yourself up for success. Make sure that you do not smoke before your procedure. Follow all of your doctor’s instructions regarding fasting and when to refrain from drinking water. If you develop a cold, let your dental team know ahead of time as you may need to reschedule the procedure.
As with any medical procedure there is a risk of complications. Here are possible complications that may arise due to a tooth extraction.
When a tooth is removed, a blood clot usually forms in the socket. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot fails to develop or dissolves before the wound has healed. This condition can be very painful and may lead to inflammation. Dry socket is a common complication and pain usually begins one to three days after the extraction procedure.
There is a risk of excessive bleeding at the removal site. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to share your medical history and current list of medications that you are taking with your dental team.
Infected Gum Tissue
The gums can become irritated and infected after a tooth extraction. If you feel excessive pain, experience swelling or discharge, contact your dentist immediately.
While it is quite common to experience discomfort after an extraction, here are some symptoms that indicate you should contact your dentist immediately:
- Severe pain
- Infection symptoms such as fever and chills
- Excessive amounts of discharge
- Severe nausea or vomiting
While there is no way to guarantee that you will avoid complications there are things you can do to help the healing process. Here are some aftercare tips:
Do not smoke. Smoking can introduce carcinogens into the open wound and promote infection.
Ice: Apply ice wrapped in a towel to help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Brush and floss but avoid the extraction site. You need to maintain your oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing but carefully avoid the extraction site.
Eat soft foods. Your mouth will likely be sore, so try to stay away from hard foods that could cause more discomfort.
Rinse with warm salt water. After 24 hours, you can gently rinse your mouth with 8 ounces of warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt added.
Take medications as directed. Your dentist will advise you which over-the-counter or prescription medications are suitable for you after your procedure. Be sure to follow the dosage recommendations carefully.
Use pillows to prop up your head. Elevating your head can help with the swelling, so use pillows to make yourself more comfortable.
Minimize Bleeding. Bite on the pad placed by the dentist shortly after the extraction to stop or minimize the bleeding.
Take it Easy. Rest during the first 24 hours after the extraction. Refrain from doing any heavy or exhausting activities during the first few days of the recovery period.
The cost of a tooth extraction depends on the damage and the kind of extraction needed. For a simple extraction, the price ranges can be nominal. Surgical extractions can be more expensive, however. Baby teeth extractions are less costly than permanent teeth. The cost also depends on your dental insurance as well.
Tooth Extractions in Mesa, AZ
Tooth extractions must only be completed by experts. This the safest and surest way to have your damaged tooth extracted. If you are located in Mesa, Arizona or the surrounding area, our dental clinic can assist you with any dental problems you may have. Contact our office today.