Your natural teeth are ideal to chew, bite and maintain jawbone and mouth structure. This is why our Kemper Meadow Family Dentistry dentist’s first priority is helping to save, restore and fix your natural teeth. But, in some cases, it’s necessary to undergo a tooth extraction procedure. A tooth extraction is where our dentist removes your tooth.
Reasons for Pulling Teeth
While your permanent, natural teeth are supposed to last a lifetime, there are various reasons why you’d need a tooth extraction. One common reason is when you have a badly damaged tooth due to decay or trauma. Other common reasons are:
- You have a crowded mouth. In some cases, our dentist will pull teeth in preparation for orthodontia. This is treatment of teeth irregularities, such as needing an alignment when your teeth are too large to fit properly in your mouth. Our dentist may also recommend you have a tooth extraction if you have a tooth that can’t erupt (break through) your gum due to there not being enough room in your mouth.
- You have periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is a type of infection of your bones and tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth that have led to your teeth becoming loose. For this situation, our dentist might suggest you have a tooth or several teeth pulled.
- You have a risk of infection. If you have a compromised immune system (i.e. you’re having an organ transplant or receiving chemotherapy), even if you have a risk of infection, our dentist might suggest tooth extraction.
- You have an Infection. If tooth damage or decay extends to your pulp (this is the center of your tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves), mouth bacteria can get into the pulp and cause infection. Generally, root canal therapy can correct this problem, but if you have a severe infection where root canal therapy or antibiotics won’t help it, you might require extraction to keep the infection from spreading.
What’s Involved in a Tooth Extraction
A tooth extraction can be simple, or it can require surgery, depending on if your tooth is impacted or visible.
Simple Tooth Extraction
With this procedure, we’ll give you a local anesthetic that will numb around the tooth area so you won’t feel pain, but only pressure during your procedure. Our dentist will use a tool referred to as an elevator to loosen up your tooth. They’ll then remove it using forceps.
Surgical Tooth Extraction
With surgical extraction, you’ll receive intravenous anesthesia along with local anesthesia. Intravenous anesthesia will help make you relaxed and calm. Our dentist might even give you general anesthesia if you have certain medical conditions. With this type of anesthesia, you’ll stay unconscious during your treatment.
We’ll then make a small incision in your gum. We might have to cut your tooth or remove the bone around your tooth before we can extract it.
Follow-Up Tooth Extraction Aftercare
Our dentist will provide you with detailed instructions on what to expect after your procedure and what you need to do. A tooth extraction is a type of surgery. So, you’ll likely experience some discomfort, even if you only had a simple extraction. Typically, this discomfort is mild.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), usually reduce pain following a tooth extraction. Our dentist will provide you with instructions on how to use these, but typically you’d take your first dose before your local anesthesia wears off. Then you can continue to take doses, as recommended by our dentist, for a few more days.
If you’ve had a surgical tooth extraction, you may experience more pain afterward than you would with a simple extraction. The discomfort level you experience and for how long usually depends on how hard it was for our dentist to remove your tooth. Our dentist might prescribe you a stronger pain reliever for several days after a surgical extraction and then have you follow up with NSAIDs. Your pain should go away after a few days.
Some tips you can follow to help make your recovery a little easier are:
- Avoid things that may hinder normal healing
- Don’t drink through a straw for the first day
- Don’t rinse your mouth aggressively or smoke
- Follow a diet we recommend
For your first several days, if you have to rinse your mouth, be sure to do it gently. If you notice any swelling, you can apply an ice bag or cold cloth and give us a call.
Remember, after a tooth extraction, the follow-up care our dentist recommends is in place for your comfort and benefit as well as to help promote quicker and easier healing. Call our office to set up an appointment for a consultation if you feel you may require a tooth extraction or need other dental care.
If you require a procedure our doctors cannot provide in our office, we will refer you to our trusted network of oral surgeons. This way you get your oral health needs addressed and enjoy the comfort in knowing your referral is based on trust with our doctors.
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