Our permanent teeth are quite durable, and they are meant to last for a lifetime. However, there are certain situations which may still require extraction. Tooth extraction is a surgical procedure in which a tooth is removed from its socket within the jaw bone. Your dentist may need to extract a tooth either because of periodontal disease, trauma, or for correcting tooth crowding.
How is the Tooth Extraction Procedure Performed?
Extraction of a tooth is a surgical procedure. Therefore, your dentist will first numb your tooth to make you comfortable and pain-free. Your dentist will first use an elevator to break the fibers that attach your teeth to the gums. Next, your dentist will use another elevator in a lever-action to gradually make the tooth mobile in its socket. Once the tooth is sufficiently mobile, your dentist will use forceps to hold the tooth and apply gentle outward force in a figure-of-eight manner to remove the tooth.
In cases where a tooth is impacted within the jaw bone, or when routine tooth extraction procedure is not possible, your dentist may choose to perform a surgical extraction. In this procedure, your dentist will make an incision over the gums to expose the underlying bone. The rim of the bone is then trimmed sufficiently so that crown of the tooth can be gripped easily for extraction. Once the tooth has been removed, your dentist will stitch the gum tissue back into its place.
What Happens After Tooth Extraction?
Once your dentist has removed the tooth, he or she will clean the socket with clean gauze, and then apply pressure with the thumbs to shape the bone and the socket. You will be then asked to leave the extraction site undisturbed for an hour to ensure the formation of a good quality blood clot that will promote healing and bone formation. If the clot gets dislodged, it can result in a painful condition known as a “dry socket”.
Post-op Tooth Extraction Care
After the bleeding has stopped, your dentist will send you home for recovery. The American Dental Association offers the following recommendations for taking care of the tooth extraction site:
- Take Painkillers – your dentist may prescribe pain medication that will help in reducing pain and swelling.
- Take Rest – it is recommended to take rest for 24 hours and to limit your activity as it will minimize the chances of dislodgment of the blood clot inside the extraction socket.
- Avoid Rinsing or Spitting – spitting or rinsing forcefully can result in the dislodgment of the clot, thereby slowing down the healing process. Also, you must not use a straw for drinking, as it can also result in dislodgment of the blood clot.
- Eat Soft Diet – following a tooth extraction, eat a soft diet for the next 24 hours. You may gradually add solid foods in the subsequent days.
- Brushing and Flossing – continue to brush and floss your teeth while taking care not to disturb the extraction site.
Thanks to recent advancements in clinical dentistry, there are minimal clinical situations nowadays that require tooth extraction, since even the most severely damaged teeth can be restored without the need for removal. Your dentist will be able to guide you if a tooth extraction is necessary for your treatment.