Being informed that you will require a tooth extraction to treat a dental problem can be stressful and nerve-wracking as an adult. However, sometimes, it could be the only remedy if other dental procedures like a root canal or filling cannot save the tooth. If your dentist or oral surgeon has informed you that a tooth extraction would be necessary to treat your dental issue, do not worry.
Your dentist will perform this procedure under general, intravenous, or local anesthesia, meaning you will not feel pain or discomfort during the extraction process. At Beach Dental Care Anaheim, we are well-equipped with modern technology to ensure our patients receive effective and non-invasive services to stay on top of their dental and oral health.
Tooth Extraction at a Glance
Tooth extraction is a dental procedure where a tooth is removed from its socket by a dentist. Sometimes, many people refer to this procedure as "pulling" out a tooth. Although we all wish to live our old age with all our teeth in place, there could come a time when tooth extraction could be the only treatment option for your dental problem.
For instance, if you have a severe cavity that compromises the pulp section and a root canal procedure is not an option, your dentist could recommend the removal of the tooth to solve the problem permanently.
Tooth Extraction Procedures You Should Know
Tooth extraction is the last option on many people's minds if they have a dental problem, but sometimes it is unavoidable. Common tooth extraction procedures you ought to know:
a) Wisdom Tooth Extractions
You can have your wisdom teeth extracted if you find it challenging to keep them clean or do not have sufficient room in your mouth to accommodate the erupting teeth. Sometimes, erupting wisdom teeth can partially break through your gums, leaving space for decay-causing bacteria to accumulate.
If you have a painful, decaying wisdom tooth, you should consider scheduling an emergency dental appointment with your dentist to treat the problem or extract the tooth if necessary.
b) Simple Extractions
If your dentist determines that you have tooth decay or teeth crowding, he/she could recommend the simple extraction procedure. Although it is a surgical procedure, it is painless because the dentist will numb the surgical site with local anesthesia.
c) Surgical Extractions
A surgical tooth extraction could be necessary if an inaccessible tooth requires removal to treat your dental issue. Like common extractions, your dentist will inject you with local anesthesia at the targeted surgical site to make the procedure comfortable.
Common Reasons a Tooth Extraction Procedure is Necessary
A well-skilled and qualified dentist will do his/her best to save his/her patient's tooth whenever possible. However, sometimes restorative treatment procedures like root canal therapy or dental fillings are not enough or ideal for specific dental issues.
Extraction could be necessary if you or your child have a severely damaged tooth. Generally speaking, your dentist will recommend tooth removal or extraction if:
You Have Severe Tooth Decay
A cavity is a hole that develops on the surface of your tooth when acid in your mouth wears down or erodes the enamel (hard outer surface of your tooth). Although tooth decay can occur at any age, this dental issue is more prevalent among children because they do not brush and floss properly and tend to consume sugary foods.
Since tooth decay on the outer surface of your tooth will not cause pain or other symptoms, you will not notice it until the decay reaches the dentin and pulp sections of the tooth. Common symptoms of a cavity include:
- Facial swelling.
- Bleeding gums.
- Bad breath.
- Sensitivity of the tooth.
- Mouth pain or toothache.
Your dentist could need x-ray pictures of the affected tooth to see the extent of erosion and damage. If the roots of the affected tooth are too weak to support the tooth, your dentist will recommend tooth extraction to prevent the accumulation of bacteria in the cavity.
After tooth extraction, you could need a dental implant, which will act as a root or anchorage for an artificial, custom-made tooth. Preventive check-ups with your dentist can help keep cavities at bay. During regular dental check-ups, your dentist will carefully examine your teeth to check for cavities and other abnormalities.
You Have a Fractured Tooth
A fractured tooth is another dental emergency that could make you lose your tooth. A dental fracture or crack can occur due to severe trauma to your face, teeth grinding, or old age. A fractured tooth has no symptoms unless the crack or fracture penetrates the dentin or the pulp section of the tooth. If your fractured tooth is severe, you could experience the following symptoms:
- Toothache, especially when chewing.
- Sensitivity to temperature changes.
- Swelling around the tooth.
- Shooting pain that comes and goes.
How your dentist will treat your fractured or cracked tooth will depend on how severe it is. If the nerves and roots of the affected tooth are compromised, your dentist will recommend an extraction procedure to resolve the issue. Although you cannot prevent every tooth fracture, you can lessen the risks of this problem with excellent oral hygiene practices like avoiding chewing ice or hard foods.
Severe Gum Disease
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is the inflammation of the "pinkish" tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. Although it could be due to other causes like smoking, poor oral hygiene is the main culprit for gum disease. If you have gum disease, you will likely experience the following symptoms:
- Bad breath or halitosis.
- Gum recession.
- Soreness on your gums.
- Bleeding on your gums.
- Reddish gums.
- Loose teeth.
- Gum recession.
When left untreated, the bacteria that led to the gum disease can erode the underlying jawbone, weakening the surrounding teeth and eventually leading to tooth loss. However, the erosion or breakdown of your jawbone tissues occurs gradually.
Most people do not realize they have gum disease, especially in the early stages. Therefore, knowing the warning signs of this oral health issue and scheduling regular appointments with your dentist are essential. Your dentist could recommend an extraction procedure if your jawbone tissues are too weak to support your tooth roots due to advanced gum disease.
You Have Crowded Teeth
Crowded teeth occur if there is insufficient space in your mouth to allow the erupting permanent teeth to grow straight, making your teeth misaligned and twisted. In an ideal alignment of your teeth, there is adequate space to allow them to grow straight without crowding or leaving unnecessary spaces between them.
Unfortunately, this is never the case for every individual due to various factors, including (but not limited to):
- Genetics (having a small jaw).
- Abnormal tooth growth.
- Losing your baby teeth too early.
- Unusually large teeth.
The sooner you notice that you or your child has crowded teeth, the better your chances are of correcting the issue and giving him/her the healthy and bright smile he/she deserves. Below are some of the warning signs that you have crowded teeth:
- Trouble chewing or biting food.
- Teeth discomfort when biting food.
- Tooth overlapping each other.
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing your teeth.
Although crowded teeth have no bothersome symptoms, leaving this dental issue unchecked or untreated could cause various dental and oral health issues down the road, including cavities and gum disease. If you have crowded teeth, your dentist can treat this dental issue in multiple ways, depending on the severity of the problem. Some of the methods your dentist can use to fix crowded teeth include:
- Braces treatment.
- Invisalign treatment.
Extracting some of your teeth is a treatment option if you have extremely crowded teeth to make room for erupting permanent teeth. Your dentist will assess the severity of your problem to determine whether tooth extraction is necessary to help solve it.
After the extractions and healing of the extraction site, your dentist could recommend wearing braces to help move your teeth back to their ideal position in your mouth. Aside from preventing oral and dental health issues, fixing crowded teeth can significantly improve your smile's appearance.
You Have a Luxated Tooth or Any Other Dental Injury
In any sport, particularly rugby, hockey, basketball, or any other sport with physical contact among players, injuries to the mouth and teeth can occur. If you have a luxated tooth (a loosened tooth) caused by a sports injury, fall, or car accident, your dentist could recommend its extraction if:
- The roots of the affected tooth are too weak to support it.
- The pulp section of the tooth is compromised.
It is worth noting that these are not the only reasons that could make your dentist recommend tooth extraction. During your appointment with your dentist, he/she will keenly assess the severity of your dental issue to determine whether an extraction is necessary. Fortunately, you do not have to live with a gap between teeth after a tooth extraction procedure.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, your dentist can restore your smile's appearance and the functions of your teeth through restorative dental procedures like implant placement. The dentist will surgically place a dental implant in your jawbone around the affected region to serve as the root for the extracted or missing tooth.
After the placement of a dental implant on your jawbone, it could take about six months to heal, depending on how you care for it. Once the implant is in place and you have healed, your dentist will recommend replacing the missing tooth with a customized dental crown to restore the functions of your teeth, like chewing, and improve your smile's appearance.
How to Prepare for Your Tooth Extraction Procedure
Preparing for a tooth removal is critical to ensuring the best possible outcome. Before this procedure, your dentist will assess the affected tooth or teeth and surrounding gums. He/she will also take X-rays to determine the extent of the damage and your bone levels.
Before the tooth extraction, you should let your dentist know your medical history, including all your medications and supplements. Also, let your dentist know if you have any of the following health conditions:
- Impaired immune system.
- Congenital heart defect.
- Damaged or artificial heart valves.
- Artificial joint.
- Adrenal disease.
Your dentist will want to know whether you have any underlying medical conditions before you undergo a tooth removal procedure. Before the procedure, your dentist could also prescribe you antibiotics if:
- The extraction surgery is likely to be long.
- You have a specific health condition.
- You have a weakened immune system or an infection.
It is also helpful and critical to keep the following in mind on the scheduled date of tooth extraction to ensure quality and effective treatment:
- Do not smoke beforehand.
- If you will receive intravenous (IV) anesthesia, wear loose-fitting clothing and a short-sleeved shirt, and fast about eight hours before your dental appointment.
- Let your dentist know if you have a cold.
- Let your dentist know if you had nausea or vomiting the previous night to know which anesthesia he/she will use.
- If you receive general anesthesia, let someone you trust drive you home after the procedure.
Possible Risks of a Tooth Removal or Extraction Procedure
Generally speaking, undergoing a tooth extraction procedure has few risks. However, if your dentist recommends this procedure as the remedy for your dental problem, the advantages likely outweigh the possible risks. Typically, after this procedure, blood will naturally clot on the tooth's socket (the hole created on your jawbone after tooth extraction).
However, your jawbone could be exposed if blood does not clot in the tooth's socket or when the clot dislodges. When this happens, your dentist can protect the area by applying a sedative dressing over the exposed socket, also known as a dry socket. During this period, a new blood clot will form. Other possible risks associated with this crucial dental procedure include:
- Bleeding that lasts longer than twelve (12) hours.
- Redness and swelling at the surgical site.
- Shortness of breath and chest pains.
The above-listed side effects or risks of tooth extraction are rare, but if you experience any of them, do not hesitate to contact your dentist.
Tips to Help You Minimize Discomfort and Speed Up Your Recovery After a Tooth Extraction
After a successful tooth extraction procedure, the dentist will allow you to go home to recuperate and heal. Generally speaking, it takes a few days to recover and heal after tooth extraction, but only if you do your part at home to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery. The tips listed below can speed up your recovery and minimize discomfort and the risk of infection after tooth extraction:
- Take all your medications, including painkillers, as prescribed by your dentist.
- Bite on the gauze pad the dentist will place on your tooth socket to control bleeding for about four hours after the extraction.
- Relax and avoid doing physical work for the first twenty-four hours after extraction.
- Apply ice cubes wrapped in a cloth to your cheeks around the extraction site to minimize any swelling.
- Avoid drinking your beverages from a straw for the first twenty-four hours.
- Do not smoke because it could inhibit your healing process.
- Rinse your mouth with saline water after twenty-four hours.
- When resting or lying down, use a pillow to prop your head in a comfortable position.
- Eat soft foods like yogurt, potatoes, pudding, eggs and soup.
- Keep your mouth clean by brushing and flossing as usual, but remember to avoid the extraction site.
Whether you have had a tooth extracted before or it is your first time undergoing the procedure, following your dentist's instructions is important. If you are unsure of what to do or not do after a tooth removal or extraction procedure, you should consult your dentist.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Extractions
Most patients with dental issues that require extraction will ask questions to know what to expect and make informed decisions about their health. Below are frequently asked questions about tooth extraction and their answers:
When Can I Return to School After a Tooth Extraction Procedure?
Generally, most people can return to or resume work two or three days after a tooth extraction procedure. If your job requires lifting or any physical effort, you should consider taking a few additional days (about a week) off to recuperate.
Do I Have to Live With a Gap Between My Teeth After a Tooth Extraction Procedure?
No, once the extraction site heals, your dentist can fix the gap between your teeth using any of the following:
- Removable partial dentures.
- Dental implant.
- Fixed bridges.
What Factors Should I Consider When Looking for a Reliable Dentist for a Tooth Extraction Procedure?
There are several dentists that you could hire for a tooth extraction procedure, but not all of them are dependable. Below are factors you should consider when finding a reliable dentist:
- The dentist's experience and qualification.
- The dentist's licensing credentials.
- The dentist's cost of services.
- The dentist's courteousness.
- The dentist's reputation.
Find a Anaheim Dentist Near Me
No matter how stringent your dental and oral care routine is, you could develop issues with your teeth or gums. Luckily, the large field of dentistry offers several unique solutions to all of these problems. If you have a dental or oral health issue where a tooth extraction procedure is an option, our dentists at Beach Dental Care Anaheim would be glad to help.
We invite you to call us at 714-995-4000 to schedule your consultation with our caring and skilled dentists.