What to Expect in a Tooth Extraction

What to Expect in a Tooth Extraction

Do you need to have a tooth pulled? If you take good care of your adult teeth, they should last a lifetime. But, careful or not, some of us may need to have a tooth extracted (taken out). Some reasons for tooth extraction are trauma, decay, crowding, or infection.

What Is a Tooth Extraction?

Tooth extraction is when a dentist removes one or more of your teeth. With the right dentist, this procedure can be relatively quick and painless.

Reasons to Undergo a Tooth Extraction

Each tooth extraction procedure is unique. Most of the time, dentists extract teeth to treat or prevent dental problems. Some of the reasons for a tooth extraction include:

  • Potential jaw problems.

  •  Risk of damage to surrounding or nearby teeth.

  • Poor tooth alignment.

  •  Risk of tooth decay.

  •  Inflamed gums.

  •  Pain or pressure on the sinuses.

  •   Abscess.

  •   Crowding.

  •  Preventative, due to future risk (wisdom teeth/oral surgery)

  •  Extra teeth.

  •   Baby teeth not coming out.

What to Expect

Before extracting your tooth, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic injection to numb the treatment area. You may be given additional medicine beforehand to make the procedure comfortable. You may even be able to sleep during the procedure.

If you have an impacted tooth, your dentist might have to remove some of the bone and gum tissue covering the affected tooth. They will then use forceps to grasp the tooth and gently loosen it from the ligaments and jawbone holding the tooth. In the case of a hard-to-remove tooth, your dentist may need to remove it in pieces, in order to protect the surrounding tissues.

Once the dentist extracts the tooth, a blood clot should form in the empty socket. Your dentist can stop the bleeding by packing a gauze pad into the socket and asking you to bite down. In some cases, dentists place a few self-dissolving stitches over the extraction site to close the gum edges.

Dry socket forms if the blood clot in the extraction site breaks loose and exposes the jawbone. Your dentist will probably place a dressing over the extraction site to protect it as a new blood clot forms. A dry socket is easy to treat if you contact the dentist soon enough. A dry socket is most likely to occur if 1) you are a smoker 2) you take contraceptive pills 3) the surgical site requires extensive time to remove the affected tooth.

Types of Tooth Extraction Procedures

The two main types of tooth extraction procedures are simple extraction and surgical extraction. Dentists perform simple extractions on teeth you can see above the gumline and surgical extractions are for teeth at or below the gumline. Additional types of extractions include soft tissue impacted, partial bony impacted, full bony impacted, and complicated full bony impacted. During teeth extractions, we offer various levels of sedation to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. We always use a local anesthetic to make sure the tooth is numb, but we can also use nitrous oxide (laughing gas), Halcion or triazolam (“chill pill”), or we can refer you to a local oral surgeon where they can start an IV and give medications intravenously so that you are essentially “asleep” for the procedure. Fortunately, most patients do not require such extensive sedation and most are treated in-office with excellent results and patient experience.

Do You Need to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

Most people will need to have their wisdom teeth removed during their lifetime due to insufficient space and a high risk of gums or bone infection. Your dentist will recommend when the time is right for wisdom teeth removal. We generally recommend preventive removal for most teens before their senior year of high school. In some rare cases, you may not need to have your wisdom teeth removed (such as having plenty of room in the jaw, low risk for cavities, and no history of crowding)

To learn more about tooth extraction, visit Jonny Fisher DDS at our office in Pullman, Washington. You can call (509) 383-8300 today to schedule an appointment.

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