The main goal of dentistry is to preserve your natural teeth and keep them healthy for as long as possible. There are times, however, when it is in your best interest (or your child’s) to have a tooth extracted (removed). This could be the case for a variety of reasons:
In both of these situations, there are several ways to try and save the tooth. The damaged tooth might need a full-coverage crown, a root canal treatment, or both. But sometimes even these methods are not enough; it might be better to remove the tooth and replace it with a strong and lifelike dental implant.
Teeth are sometimes extracted when there are too many of them for the size of the dental arches (jaws), a situation known as crowding. After an adequate amount of space is opened up through the extraction of one or more teeth, the remaining teeth can be aligned properly.
Early removal of impacted wisdom teeth can prevent damage to neighboring healthy teeth, bone, gum tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. If an impacted wisdom tooth is in the wrong position, it’s best to remove it before its roots are fully formed.
The first step in any extraction is to capture x-rays to assess the position of the tooth roots and the condition of the surrounding bone. Dr. KinneyLearn more about our dentist then examines your tooth and discusses your options (including sedation).
Extractions are usually carried out with local anesthesia, which will numb the area around the tooth.
As your tooth is being removed, steps are taken to ensure the bone that surrounds it isn’t damaged. Sometimes, in the process of removing a tooth, a small amount of lab-processed bone-grafting material is placed into the socket to help preserve the bone volume there. This is particularly important when the extraction is going to be followed at some point by the placement of a dental implant or orthodontics.
After the procedure is complete, we’ll review your replacement options.
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Immediately after your tooth is extracted, the socket will be covered with sterile gauze. Gentle pressure will be applied for 10-20 minutes to control any bleeding. Then small sutures (stitches) might also be used to assist with healing.
It’s normal to experience some mild to moderate post-operative discomfort and/or swelling. Taking non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin the day of surgery should control most symptoms. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to ensure infection-free healing.
Using ice packs on the outside of your jaw and eating softer foods until you feel more comfortable can also be helpful after most extractions. Within a few days, all should be back to normal.