What Is It?
Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone.
What It’s Used For
If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, Dr. Witten or Dr. Halady will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other treatment. Sometimes, though, there’s too much damage for the tooth to be repaired. In this case, the tooth needs to be extracted. A very loose tooth due to periodontal disease, also will require extraction if it can’t be saved.
Here are other reasons:
- Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.
- Sometimes baby teeth don’t fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in.
- People getting braces may need teeth extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place.
- People receiving radiation to the head and neck may need to have teeth in the field of radiation extracted.
- People receiving cancer drugs may develop infected teeth because these drugs weaken the immune system. Infected teeth may need to be extracted.
- Some teeth may need to be extracted if they could become a source of infection after an organ transplant. People with organ transplants have a high risk of infection because they must take drugs that decrease or suppress the immune system.
- Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, cause pain or have a cyst or infection. These teeth often get stuck in the jaw (impacted) and do not come in. This can irritate the gum, causing pain and swelling. In this case, the tooth must be removed. If you need all four wisdom teeth removed, they are usually taken out at the same time.
An X-ray of the area will be taken to help plan the best way to remove the tooth. Be sure to provide your full medical and dental history and a list of all medicines you take. This should include prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements.
If you are having wisdom teeth removed, you may have a panoramic X-ray. This X-ray takes a picture of all of your teeth at once. It can show several things that help to guide an extraction:
Sometimes you may be prescribed antibiotics to be taken before and after surgery. Antibiotics are more likely to be given if:
- You have infection at the time of surgery
- You have a weakened immune system
- You will have a long surgery
- You have specific medical conditions
How It’s Done
There are two types of extractions:
- A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. The tooth will be loosened with an instrument called an elevator. Then will use an instrument called a forceps to remove the tooth.
- A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure. If a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come in fully erupted it may require a small incision. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half in order to extract it.
Most extractions can be done using just an injection (a local anesthetic).
During a tooth extraction, you can expect to feel pressure, but no pain. If you feel any pain or pinching, please tell us.
You will be given you detailed instructions on what to do and what to expect after your surgery. If you have any questions, make sure to ask them before you leave our office.
Having a tooth taken out is surgery. You can expect some discomfort after even simple extractions. Usually it is mild. Research has shown that taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can greatly decrease pain after a tooth extraction. These drugs include ibuprofen, such as Advil, Motrin and others. Take the dose recommended, 3 to 4 times a day. Take the first pills before the local anesthesia wears off. Continue taking them for 3 days.
Surgical extractions generally cause more pain after the procedure than simple extractions. The level of discomfort and how long it lasts will depend on how difficult it was to remove the tooth. Most pain disappears after a couple of days.
A cut in the mouth tends to bleed more than a cut on the skin because it cannot dry out and form a scab. After an extraction, you’ll be asked to bite on a piece of gauze for 20 to 30 minutes. This pressure will allow the blood to clot. You will still have a small amount of bleeding for the next 24 hours or so. It should taper off after that. Don’t disturb the clot that forms on the wound.
You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling. Typically, they are left on for 20 minutes at a time and removed for 20 minutes.
Eat soft and cool foods for a few days. Then try other food as you feel comfortable.
A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can help to keep the area clean. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Most swelling and bleeding ends within a day or two after the surgery. Initial healing takes at least two weeks.
If you need stitches, it may be the kind that dissolves on their own (This usually takes one to two weeks. Rinsing with warm salt water will help the stitches to dissolve) or the kind that will need to be removed in 7-10 days in our office.
You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was. Do not smoke on the day of surgery. Do not smoke for 24 to 72 hours after having a tooth extracted.