Tooth Extractions

An extraction means to have a tooth removed, usually because of disease, trauma or crowding.

If you need an extractions, your dentist will first numb the area to lessen any discomfort. After the extraction, your dentist will advise you of what post extraction regimen to follow. In most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal. Your mouth will slowly fill in the bone where the tooth root was through the formation of a blood clot.

Here are some tips to follow to make recovery easier:

  • Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing.
  • Don’t smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw for 24 hours.
  • Follow the diet your dentist suggests.

For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently. If you experience swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag and call your dentist right away. Ask your dentist about pain medication. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual. But don’t clean the teeth next to where the tooth was removed.

Remember, when having an extraction, today’s modern procedures and follow up care (as recommended by your dentist) are there for your benefit and comfort.

Indications

Teeth are important for aesthetic purposes and for maintaining masticatory function. Accordingly, all efforts to avoid tooth extraction must be exhausted before the decision is made to proceed with removal of a tooth. Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which it is clear that a tooth must be extracted, such as the following:

A tooth that cannot be restored, because of severe caries
A mobile tooth with severe periodontal disease, pulp necrosis, or periapical abscess, for which root canal treatment is required that the patient cannot afford (or for which endodontic treatment failed)
Overcrowding of teeth in the dental arch, resulting in orthodontic deformity

How It’s Done

There are two types of extractions:

A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. General dentists commonly do simple extractions. In a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses an instrument called a forceps to remove the tooth.

A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure. It is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come into the mouth yet. Surgical extractions commonly are done by oral surgeons. However, they are also done by general dentists. The doctor makes a small incision (cut) into your gum. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half in order to extract it.