Children are used to getting their teeth pulled out. But sometimes tooth extractions become necessary for adults as well. If your tooth is broken, chipped, or decayed, your dentist always strategizes a plan to save your tooth by restoring them. In fact, most oral surgeons believe in a maximum conservative approach to oral ailments. However, in cases where your oral health may be prone to violation by the continued sustenance of your diseased tooth, it is healthy for your teeth to get evacuated, or pulled out.
What is tooth extraction?
Tooth extraction, in simple terms, is the removal of a grossly diseased tooth from its socket in the bone. You may have heard from the grapevine of horror stories associated with wisdom teeth removal and may find the process to be a little nerve-wracking. But the American Dental Association assures that teeth extraction is a fairly standard dental procedure and will be hailed with minimal side-effects and risks.
Why is tooth extraction necessary?
Teeth extractions are mostly sought after if the tooth is beyond salvageable. This can include a wide variety of different circumstances such as:
- Tooth decay that has reached deep in the tooth
- Infection that has destroyed a huge portion of the tooth and the surrounding bone
- Wisdom teeth that are “impacted” and have no space to erupt
- Crowded teeth that block other teeth from coming in
- Baby teeth that have not fallen out and thus prevent permanent teeth from erupting
- People looking for orthodontic treatment to create room for new teeth movement and position
Types of tooth extractions
The right kind of tooth extraction depends on the tooth’s shape, size, position, and location. Oral surgeons usually classify teeth extractions into two categories, namely simple and surgical extractions.
- Simple extraction: This is performed on a tooth that has fully erupted in the mouth. In simple extractions, the tooth is loosened with the help of instruments known as elevators and is pulled out using forceps.
- Surgical extraction: This is a more complex procedure that comes to play when the tooth has not erupted past the overlying gum layer. These teeth are labeled as “impacted” and will require minor surgery to remove. A small incision is made on the gum and the tooth is broken into fragments before removing it.
Most extractions are done some form of anesthetic or a numbing agent. You will be given a local anesthetic for a simple extraction procedure but people with specific medical conditions or severe dental anxiety may need to be “put under” or given general anesthesia.
Pre-Op Instructions for tooth extraction
During the pre-op evaluation, your oral surgeon will talk to you about the process of tooth extraction. This medical and dental history -taking process is very crucial for the success of your procedure so you must make sure that you disclose all details as honestly as possible. These questions would most likely involve any existing health problems you may have, any drugs you may be taking on a regular basis, and the type of anesthetic you will be using during the procedure.
Prior to the surgical procedure, you will be instructed to abide by these pre-surgery recommendations:
- Do not eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before surgery, if you are scheduled to have general anesthesia
- No smoking for at least 12 hours before the surgery.
- A responsible adult to accompany you to the dental office.
- Loose-fitting clothing to be worn.
- Contact lenses, jewelry, and dental appliances to be removed.
- Illnesses like a cold, sore throat, upset bowels to be reported to the dentist.
- Any routine medications to be taken as usual
How is tooth extraction surgery done?
Your surgery should take 45 minutes or less. An x-ray may be taken before starting the surgery to help determine the status of the impacted tooth. A local anesthetic will be given to numb the tooth and the surrounding area.
- A small incision will be made in the gum to access the wisdom tooth
- A small piece of the bone covering the tooth is removed.
- The tooth may be dissected into smaller parts to make it easier for removal.
- You may feel some pressure before the tooth is removed.
- The dentist rocks the tooth back and forth to loosen it.
- Upon removal, the surgical site is disinfected.
Post-surgical care for extracted wisdom teeth
Gauze is placed over the site of extraction. You will be asked to bite on the gauze to apply pressure on the site to allow a blood clot to form. Blood clots are important for healing so try not to dislodge them as your wound site will be exposed to food, drinks, and bacterial infection, potentially leading to dry socket formation. Sometimes you may also be prescribed antibiotics to arrest any ongoing infection.
For 24 hours after removing your wisdom tooth, you should avoid:
- Rinsing your mouth out with liquid
- Drinking alcohol and smoking
- Drinking hot liquids such as tea or soup
- Strenuous physical activity
- Eating spicy foods
Tooth extractions are simple procedures that do not pose any viable risks to your oral health. If you are worried about undergoing a tooth extraction, rest assured as these are minimally invasive to your mouth!