Tooth extraction is as old as mankind. But thankfully, modern techniques make for a more comfortable and safe procedure. We don’t have to depend on using a rock, a piece of string and a doorknob, or a rusty pair of pliers to remove a painful tooth!
The extraction process
Today, before removing a tooth, the oral surgeon will take x-rays to see the tooth in its entirety. They may also prescribe antibiotics to keep an infection under control before and after the procedure. A local or general anesthetic is administered, which eliminates anxiety and pain associated with the procedure.
The extraction method itself, which is referred to as exodontia, is usually straightforward if the tooth has erupted through the gums. Forceps are used to hold and wiggle the tooth, taking the root and all, out of its socket. In some cases, the tooth needs be cut into pieces prior to extraction.
To remove an impacted tooth — one that hasn’t erupted through the surface of the gums — requires the oral surgeon to cut away at the gum tissue first before exposing the tooth.
Why do teeth need to be extracted?
The specific reasons why people need their teeth extracted vary, but in most cases, the bad tooth cannot be saved and causes pain. This can be caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease, dental trauma like breaking a tooth, or with wisdom teeth, the mouth may become overcrowded and cannot be fixed through orthodontics.
In urgent cases, a tooth may become severely infected and require emergency extraction.
Once the tooth extraction procedure is complete, patients are given instructions to go home and rest. Recovery does take a few days, and the patient should relax to ensure a full recovery. This includes keeping the head elevated, applying ice for swelling and possibly biting down slightly on a gauze pad to help with any bleeding. After about 24 hours, the patient can begin regular rinsing with a warm saltwater solution – but waiting a 24 hour period is necessary so as not to dislodge the blood clot that forms inside the empty socket (known as a painful condition called “dry socket”).
Losing teeth tops the list of common nightmares, but there is no reason that a tooth extraction needs to be feared or uncomfortable. Dr. Green will discuss your medical history and sedation options with you. If you need a tooth extracted, call us for a consultation at (817) 237-7557.