Tooth extraction is probably the most common dental service performed in many dental clinics in London, Ontario. If you think you require a tooth extraction, visit an emergency dentist right away. While it is a routine procedure, having a tooth pulled out can be nerve-racking for some people. However, this post aims to help you feel more at ease by providing comprehensive information about what you can expect about tooth extraction.
What Is A Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction involves the removal of the entire tooth (root included) from the gums. There are two types of tooth extraction procedures:
- Simple Extraction – It is usually performed by a general or emergency dentist. The process of extracting the tooth is relatively easy because the entire tooth is visible. The dentist applies a local anesthetic to the region where the tooth will be removed and uses forceps to pull the tooth. This type of tooth removal process is quick and painless.
- Surgical Extraction – It is a complex process that requires an oral surgeon to extract the tooth from the mouth. Among the most common examples are the removal of wisdom tooth, tooth below the gum line, or broken tooth. General dentists can perform a surgical tooth extraction, but in some cases, it may require the removal of part of the gum or bone. Sometimes, the tooth must be broken to make the process easier.
When Is A Tooth Extraction Necessary?
In most cases, a broken or decay-damaged tooth can be repaired with a filling or crown. However, there are instances when the dentist will recommend an extraction.
- Abscess or tooth decay – Tooth decay can be fixed with a dental filling or crown, and an abscessed tooth can be treated with an antibiotic. When the tooth is irreparable, it needs to be removed to protect the nearby tooth from decay or infection.
- Crowded teeth – When you have more teeth than your jaw can accommodate, it results in crowding. This dental problem causes the teeth to shift into a different position. It increases the risk of gum irritation and tooth decay. Tooth extraction is also necessary to create room for other teeth, especially when getting braces or Invisalign.
- Impacted tooth – An impacted tooth needs to be extracted to prevent it from damaging nearby teeth. This also reduces the risk of overcrowding and infection.
- Radiation – Patients receiving head and neck radiation may need to have some teeth extracted if they are in the path of radiation.
- Infection – Some drugs can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of tooth infection. An infected tooth needs to be removed immediately.
What To Expect During A Tooth Extraction
- Before The Procedure
Schedule an appointment with a reliable dentist nearest you. A dental checkup helps determine if you need a dental extraction. Make sure to provide the dentist with your full medical and dental history, as well as a list of all your medication to let him/her know if you have any pre-existing conditions that could potentially affect the surgery or cause reactions to treatment.
In some cases, the dentist may recommend a panoramic X-ray to assess the condition of the tooth and determine if the procedure will be simple or surgical. It enables the dental professional to examine the following:
- Your tooth’s relationship with other teeth
- The relationship of the upper teeth to your sinuses
- The lower teeth’s relationship to the inferior alveolar nerve (nerve in the jawbone)
- The presence of infection, tumour, or jawbone disease
Your dentist or dental surgeon may prescribe antibiotics before and after the procedure. You are likely to receive antibiotics if you have:
- Infection at the time of tooth removal procedure
- Higher risk of infection due to a weakened immune system
- Long hours of surgery
- Certain medical conditions
If you are feeling under the weather, make sure to inform the dentist immediately to reschedule your appointment.
- The Day of Surgery
At the time of surgery, the dentist or oral surgeon injects a local anesthetic the area surrounding the tooth or teeth to be extracted. This numbs the affected tooth, jawbone, and the surrounding gums. Once you are anesthetized, the oral surgeon will start the procedure.
- The Procedure
The dentist firmly rocks the affected tooth back and forth to loosen its hold. You might feel pressure during the simple extraction procedure. However, the entire process of rocking and pulling should not cause any pain. If you feel pain, inform the dental surgeon immediately so that they can administer more numbing agent to control the pain.
In a surgical extraction, a small incision is made into the gum to access the affected tooth. From there, the oral surgeon will start the procedure similar to a simple extraction. The dentist will give you a gauze pad to bite down to help control the bleeding. If necessary, the dental surgeon may need to stitch (self-dissolving) to close the incision site. The entire dental extraction process may take about 20 to 40 minutes.
- Healing And After Care
Recovery usually takes a few days after the procedure. You may feel a little drowsy after the extraction of the tooth. Make sure to get enough bed rest to give your body time to heal. Over-the-counter pain medications can help control pain and discomfort.
Smoking after surgery can increase your risk of dry socket, a painful condition where the blood clot fails to develop at the side of the tooth extraction, leaving the underlying nerves exposed. It can also lead to a bacterial infection on the extraction site. Avoid smoking for at least 72 hours after the surgery.
- Healing – The extraction site usually takes about two weeks to close. However, it could take between three to six months for the soft tissue and bone to regrow.
- When you get home – Swelling is normal but make sure to apply the swollen area with an ice pack. Avoid frequent spitting for at least 24 hours to allow blood clots to form.
Keep your mouth clean while it is healing. Brush and floss your teeth as you usually would, but take extra caution when brushing the area of the tooth extraction. Rinse with a saltwater solution.
- What to eat – Eat soft and cool food for the first few days after an extraction. Avoid hot foods and alcoholic drinks for at least 24 hours. Make sure to chew away from the extraction site to prevent irritation.
- When to seek help – You might feel some pain as the anesthesia starts to wear off. Although residual bleeding and swelling are normal, call your dentist immediately if the bleeding or discomfort is severe or lasts more than four hours after the extraction.
Seek help if you experience the following symptoms:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tongue, lip, or chin feels numb more than three hours after tooth extraction
- An intense pain on the extraction site (a symptom of a dry socket)
- Vomiting or nausea
- Shortness of breathing, chest pain, or cough
Over time, a missing tooth can eventually cause the remaining teeth to shift from its original position. This can significantly affect your bite, making it difficult to chew. To prevent this problem from occurring, your dentist may recommend an implant, dentures, or fixed bridge.
If you are looking for a dental clinic in London, Ontario whom you can trust your family’s oral health needs, turn to Cosmo Dental Centre. We take pride in our comprehensive dental services and state-of-the-art equipment and procedures to diagnose and treat various dental problems. Our team of dental healthcare professionals are here to help maintain your oral health. Call us at (519) 659-2767 to book an appointment.