Dental Extractions

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Despite incredible advances in the field of restorative dentistry that has enabled dentists to salvage countless teeth each single day, extraction of teeth can still sometimes be required in some cases such as when a tooth cannot be saved after multiple attempts at restoring it, or when teeth crowding is to be treated by removing teeth from both sides of an arch.

What is Dental Extraction?

Dental extraction is a surgical procedure in which a tooth is pulled out of its bony socket, either due to an untreatable infection or due to orthodontic reasons. Since dental extraction is a surgical procedure, it is carried out under the effect of an anesthesia.

When is Dental Extraction Required?

Tooth extraction may be warranted in the following cases:

  • Non-salvageable Tooth – a tooth may need to be extracted in cases when it cannot be saved despite the dentist’s multiple attempts at treating the infection with the help of a root canal treatment.
  • Impacted Teeth – a tooth is considered as impacted, if it is unable to erupt completely into the dental arch. The soft tissues surrounding a partially impacted tooth are prone to frequently get inflamed which can result in significant pain and inconvenience. Therefore, impacted teeth are extracted as soon as they start causing any problems.
  • Tooth Crowding – tooth crowding occurs when there is insufficient inside the jaws to accommodate for the eruption of all the teeth, thereby resulting in crowding as well poor alignment of the teeth. While minor tooth crowding can be treated through non-surgical procedures followed by orthodontic treatment, severe tooth crowding requires extraction of one or two teeth on both the sides, and then re-aligning the teeth through orthodontic treatment.
  • Grossly Carious Teeth – teeth that are heavily infected with cavities, can infect their neighboring teeth as well. Therefore, in some cases it is advisable to extract a tooth when it is feared that it can infect the surrounding teeth as well.
  • Supernumerary Teeth – supernumerary, or extra teeth not only create difficulties in eating and speaking, but they can also ruin one’s facial esthetics and smile. Therefore, supernumerary teeth are extracted once they cause problems.
How are Teeth Extracted?

Before deciding to extract a tooth, your dentist will first perform a detailed examination of your oral cavity, in addition to ordering radiographs of your teeth. This is done to make sure that all the restorative options have been tried before extraction is considered. The radiographs also help the dentist in visualizing any vitals structures in the area of operation, such as nerves or vessels that may get damaged during the surgery. Also to make sure that you do not have any blood borne diseases, your dentist may order a few medical investigations.

  • Administration of Anesthesia – an anesthesia is administered to the patients before extraction, so that they become pain-free and relaxed. Depending upon the expected time of the surgery and the number of teeth to be extracted, your dentist may choose between providing you with a local or a general anesthesia. Furthermore, the dentist may also consider performing the procedure under sedation in case an extremely nervous or apprehensive patient.
  • Pulling the Tooth Out – first, your dentist will thoroughly clean the tooth that has to be extracted. Next, an elevator will be used to detach the fibers that were attaching the tooth to the jaw bone and the gums. Another type of elevator will then be used to carefully apply pressure on the tooth so that it becomes mobile within its socket. Once sufficiently mobile, your dentist will use suitable forceps (specific for each tooth) and deliver the tooth by applying controlled pulling forces.
  • After Tooth Removal – immediately after tooth extraction, a gauze is used to clean the tooth socket and it is compressed by using both thumbs to reshape it. Afterwards, the patient is asked to bite over a clean gauze, so as to promote blood clotting.
What to Expect After Extraction?

It is not uncommon to experience mild pain and irritation at the surgical site for a few days after extraction. Your dentist will prescribe you with a pain relieving medication to make you comfortable. The pain usually goes away within 2-3 days, and if it does not, you should consult your dentist without any delay.

Caring for the Extraction Site

The extraction site should be left undisturbed while healing is taking place. You should take care of the following things after you have undergone a tooth extraction:

  • Take soft diet for 1-2 days after extraction
  • Don’t use a straw as it result in the dislodgement of the clot
  • Avoid taking hot drinks or foods on the first day, as it can also dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.
  • Tongue touch the surgical site with your tongue or fingers.
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