Dental extractions

Most restorative techniques in dentistry have successfully the number of teeth that need to be extracted due to cavities or infection. Despite that, teeth still need to be extracted for various other reasons.

What is Dental Extraction?

Dental extraction is a surgical procedure in which a tooth is removed from its socket within the jaw bone, under the effect of anesthesia. Generally, there are two types of dental extractions:

  • Simple / Uncomplicated Dental Extraction – this type of extraction is performed when the dentist foresees that a tooth can be extracted without any difficulty
  • Surgical / Complicated Extraction – this type of extraction is performed when the dentist believes that the tooth won't come out easily. In this case, the gums and soft tissue surrounding the tooth are incised. The jaw bone is exposed and removal of the bone is performed until the tooth comes out easily.

Why Teeth Need to be extracted?

Dental extraction may be required in the following cases:

  • Infections – when an infection of a tooth it surrounding structures becomes untreatable, the ultimate solution is to extract the tooth so as to prevent infection of the adjacent teeth.
  • Relieve Tooth Crowding – crowding of teeth occurs whenever the space required for eruption of teeth in proper alignment is greater than the available space. In this case, an orthodontist may choose to extract one or two teeth from both sides in an arch in order to relieve crowding of the teeth.
  • Pericoronitis – the soft tissues surrounding a partially or completely impacted tooth often get inflamed. This condition is quite painful and is known as pericoronitis. The ultimate treatment for this problem is the extraction of the extracted tooth, or to bring it into occlusion through orthodontic treatment.
  • Supernumerary Teeth – sometimes, extra teeth can erupt into the oral cavity. These teeth are known as supernumerary teeth. These teeth not only create difficulties in eating, but they also cause problems in speech and can also injure the oral soft tissues. Therefore these teeth must be extracted.

Steps Involved in Dental Extraction

Following steps are involved in the extraction of a tooth:

  • Pre-operative Evaluation – before extracting a tooth, your dentist will perform a clinical examination and will have a look at the radiograph of the tooth that needs to be extracted. This is done to determine the extent of the infection and the possibility of damaging any vital dental structures, such as nerves or vessels that are present around the roots of the tooth.
  • Administration of Local Anesthesia – in order to make the patient pain-free and comfortable, a local anesthesia is administered to the patient. In case of an extremely apprehensive or a nervous patient, the dentist may choose to perform the procedure under conscious sedation or even general anesthesia.
  • Extraction – once the patient is pain-free, the dentist initiates the extraction process by detaching the soft tissues that are adhering to the teeth. Next, the dentist uses forceps (specific for each tooth) and gradually taking the tooth out by applying controlled and precise forces.
  • Cleaning the Tooth Socket – once the tooth is out, the dentist will immediately clean the tooth socket, place a gauze inside it and ask the patient to bite over it. This is done to ensure stoppage of the bleeding and the formation of a blood clot.

Post-operative Instructions

  • It is normal to feel slight pain and discomfort following dental extraction. Your dentist will prescribe a pain-killer for that purpose.
  • Don't touch the extraction site with your fingers and tongue. Doing so may hamper the healing process
  • Avoid eating hard and sticky foods while the extraction wound is healing.
  • Don't use straw for drinking, at least for 2-3 days, as it can dislodge the blood clot
  • It is advisable to perform rinses with lukewarm salt water. This will help in quick recovery.

Check out WebMD for more information, it's an excellent resource on the subject.

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