When teeth are no longer restorable, loose from gum disease, or too crowded, the dentist may recommend undergoing a tooth extraction. Tooth extractions are a very common procedure performed at the dentist. Tooth extractions, also known as exodontia, involves removing or pulling a tooth. Patients undergoing a tooth extraction are put under local anesthesia in the office to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.
Tooth Extraction Procedure
Once it has been determined that a tooth will need to be pulled, the dentist will use an x-ray will to further evaluate the tooth. Once a tooth extraction is complete, stitches may be necessary to seal the wound. In other cases, a bridge, implant or denture may be put in place of the tooth (or teeth) that was pulled. There are two types of tooth extractions:
- Simple Tooth Extraction: A simple tooth extraction is an extraction of a tooth that is visible inside the mouth. With a simple tooth extraction, forceps are utilized to pull the tooth from the mouth.
- Surgical Tooth Extraction: A surgical tooth extraction is more extensive. This type of extraction is utilized in instances where teeth have broken at the gum line, or when teeth have descended into the mouth, like in the case of wisdom teeth. A surgical extraction may be performed by an oral surgeon and often uses general anesthesia.
Post-Operative Recovery & Discomfort
After a patient undergoes a tooth extraction, come pain and discomfort may occur. The pain and discomfort can be relieved by:
- Applying ice to the external area
- Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
- Taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications
Any bleeding, swelling or post-operative discomfort usually diminishes within the first 24-48 hours after surgery. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to help fight off any infections. Patients should avoid certain foods and liquids for 24-48 hours after the tooth extraction. Most tooth extraction patients fully recover within a week or two after the procedure.
We recommend that restorative procedures such as bridges or implants be planned for after removal of a tooth, as missing teeth can cause shifting and difficulty chewing.