When a tooth is unable to be repaired, your dentist may recommend an extraction, which is the removal of the problematic tooth. Other reasons for extracting a tooth include:
- When a tooth is preventing other teeth from erupting or damaging your existing teeth.
- During orthodontic treatment where additional space is needed to align the teeth.
- When a tooth is impacted because there is insufficient room for the tooth to erupt into mouth or the tooth is erupting in an unfavourable position causing discomfort and/or infection. This most commonly occurs with wisdom teeth (also known as third molars).
The tooth extraction procedure
It begins with an x-ray of the area to plan the extraction. Sometimes a course of antibiotics may be required prior to the extraction.
At this consult, your dentist will be able to determine whether you require a simple or surgical extraction. A simple extraction will be performed by your dentist who will loosen the tooth and then use forceps to remove it. In more complicated cases, a surgical extraction will be required. In this case, your dentist will make a small incision and possibly perform other processes to facilitate the removal of the tooth.
Both simple and surgical extractions can be performed with local or general anesthetic depending on your specific needs.
After the tooth is removed, the area will need time to heal. You will be prescribed medication to manage the discomfort, but you can help speed the process along.
Here are some tips:
- Rinse your mouth several times a day (after the first day) with warm salt water to reduce swelling and keep bacteria at bay. One teaspoon of salt in an 8-oz glass is all you need.
- Bite down on gauze if bleeding continues.
- Sleep with your head propped up. Lying flat can prolong bleeding.
- Stay off your feet for a day or two if that has been recommended.
- Continue brushing and flossing but be very careful around the extraction area.
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat soft foods.
- Avoid using straws
Depending on the procedure, stitches may be necessary. Some stitches dissolve on their own, while others must be removed during a subsequent visit. Your dentist or oral surgeon will let you know which kind you have after the procedure has been completed.
The advantage of tooth extractions
The problem will be resolved quickly and without discomfort.
The disadvantage of tooth extractions
The tooth that is removed may need to be replaced.