Why are Teeth Removed?
Teeth are extracted for a variety of reasons:
- Decay has reached deep into the tooth
- Infection has destroyed a large portion of the tooth or surrounding bone
- There is not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth
How are Teeth Removed?
Before a tooth is removed, your dentist will thoroughly review your medical and dental history and take X-rays if required.
X-rays reveal the length, shape, and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. From this information, your dentist can estimate the degree of difficulty of the procedure and decide whether it is more appropriate to refer you to a specialist called an oral surgeon.
Before removal, the area around your tooth will be anesthetized. Dentists use a local anesthetic to numb the area of the mouth where the extraction will take place.
For a simple extraction, once the area is anesthetized, the tooth is loosened with the help of a tool called an elevator, then extracted with dental forceps. This is done very carefully to preserve as much bone as possible as the possibility of the space being restored with a dental implant must always be considered. Occasionally the remaining socket is stitched to help it close up.
What can I Expect After an Extraction?
It is critical to keep the area clean and prevent infection immediately following the removal of a tooth. Your dentist will ask you to bite down gently on a piece of dry, sterile gauze to limit bleeding while clotting takes place. For the next 24 hours, you shouldn’t smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously, or clean the teeth next to the extraction site.
A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction. In some cases, your dentist will recommend a painkiller or prescribe one for you. It may help to apply an ice pack to the face for 15 minutes at a time. You may also want to limit strenuous activity, as well as avoid hot liquids and not drink through a straw. The day after the extraction, your dentist may suggest that you begin gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (do not swallow the water). Under normal circumstances, discomfort should lessen within three days.If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call your dentist at once.