Causes for Tooth Extraction
There are many reasons why a dental healthcare provider would recommend extracting one or more teeth. One of the most common reasons is due to severe tooth decay beyond what is reasonable to save. In these cases, an extraction is performed to prevent infection, pain, and also to make the patient more comfortable.
A dentist may also recommend extraction for impacted teeth, malfunctioning teeth, teeth that are hard to clean, and wisdom teeth. Removal of wisdom teeth can prevent crowding and can prevent inflammation or infection if they do not fully erupt.
Although there are exceptions, most tooth extractions are uneventful procedures that last only a few minutes. Usually, the dental team will have already taken x-rays of the teeth prior to the procedure. The tooth, gum and bone will then be anesthetized using a local numbing agent for the patient. Oral sedation can also be administered to help with anxiety prior to the procedure. Once the extraction begins, patients should feel only pressure and not pain.
In some cases, a dentist or oral surgeon will recommend full sedation – especially if there will be more than one tooth extracted during the procedure. In this case, the patient is instead given anesthesia intravenously to prevent pain throughout the entire body. Patients who undergo a sedated tooth extraction will have no memory of the procedure.
Following a dental extraction, the dentist, will have a very specific set of instructions for caring for the extraction site in the hours and days following the tooth removal. Usually, this involves leaving gauze on the extraction site to minimize bleeding for the first few hours. Also closing the extraction site with socket preservation materials is a good way to prevent dry sockets.
Depending on the type of tooth extraction performed, the dentist may also prescribe medication to help relieve pain for the first few days following the procedure. As long as the extraction site is kept clean and patients follow the instructions for care, the gums should heal in a matter of weeks without complication or infection. Furthermore, if necessary and once the extraction site heals, the dentist can replace one or more missing teeth with a bridge, a denture or a dental implant for both functional and aesthetic purposes.