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Tooth Extraction

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Getting a tooth extracted is one of the most dreaded dental procedures. At times, there is no option left but to get rid of the natural tooth to save the neighboring teeth or prevent an infection. Let us have a look at the scenarios where tooth extraction is the only option.

All About Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is a procedure to remove the tooth from its socket.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is carried out for many reasons. A tooth can be removed due to:

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth infection
  • Dental caries
  • Gum disease that destroys the surrounding tooth
  • Removal of misaligned teeth that cannot be treated endodontically
  • Teeth that affect the shape or structure of prosthetic teeth or dentures
  • Sudden growth of wisdom teeth with space constraint
  • Tooth fracture
  • Extra teeth that affect the normal growth of other teeth

Preparation for Teeth Extraction

After examining your teeth, the dentist or dental surgeon will suggest tooth extraction, if necessary. He/she may order an X-ray to plan the tooth extraction. At times, an antibiotic will be prescribed, if you have a tooth infection, weak immune system or suffer from certain medical conditions. The dentist may call you for the extraction the next day or after a couple of days for extraction. This depends on a visible swelling, inflammation or infection present at the site of extraction. Diabetics may be asked to first check their blood sugar level. If the blood sugar level is within limits, the procedure will be scheduled accordingly.

Types of Tooth Extraction

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There are two types of tooth extractions. These include:

  • Simple extraction

Simple tooth extraction is the one that is performed under local anesthesia. The tooth is visible and simple instruments are required to grasp or get a hold at the tooth. An elevator is used to loosen the tooth and forceps along with general force is applied to remove the tooth from its socket.

  • Surgical Extraction

As the name suggests, this complicated extraction is carried out using surgery. The tooth to be extracted is not clearly visible or is presently under the gumline. This happens when the tooth breaks off under the gum line or is yet to erupt completely. In order to reach the tooth, an incision is made in the gum. In some cases, the bone and tissues around the tooth are removed to reach the tooth. The tooth may also be broken into multiple pieces before it is completely extracted from the socket. This type of extraction is carried out under general anesthesia.

What Happens After the Surgery?

After the tooth is extracted, bleeding occurs at the site of extraction. This bleeding can occur for about an hour or so. Gradually, a blood clot is formed and the bleeding decreases within 24 hours. It takes a week for the wound to heal completely. In place of the missing tooth, soft gum tissues starts growing in a couple of months.

Aftercare for Tooth Extraction

The dentist will advise some aftercare that will help in reducing the bleeding and healing of the wound. He may place a piece of cotton or gauze on the site of extraction. This helps provide the pressure that facilitates clotting.

One should put an ice pack on the face or suck on ice cream to reduce the swelling. Gargle the mouth with salt water to keep the wound clean. Do not start eating instantly. Begin with soft and cool foods as it will be easy to chew and won’t lead to pain. AVOID spitting, smoking, alcohol or drinking with a straw after the extraction.

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Complications Due to Tooth Extraction

Generally tooth extraction is a safe procedure and heals completely within a week. However, in some cases, it may lead to:

  • Gum infection
  • Bleeding for more than 72 hours
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Nerve injury
  • Dry socket (very common complication)
  • Bruising
  • Jaw stiffness

Emergency Call to the Dentist

The gum tissue will heal completely in 3 to 4 weeks after the extraction. The pain reduces in a day or two. However, if the pain worsens, or the bleeding does not stop call your dentist immediately. You should also call your dentist if one:

  • Has problems swallowing saliva, food or drinks
  • Suffers from fever and chill
  • Finds the surrounding area or tongue, lip or chin feel numb
  • Severe pain at the site of extraction

This was all about tooth extraction. This is a very common dental procedure and often carried out as a last resort, if all other treatments fail or won’t help in saving the natural tooth. Speak to your dentist about all your fears and doubts regarding tooth extraction. Once the damaged or decayed tooth is extracted, you will find most of your dental problems will subside.

Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: February 23, 2015