Permanent teeth are long lasting, but exceptional circumstances necessitate having a tooth extracted from its dental socket. Tooth extraction is the removal of an infected or unwanted tooth or tooth root with the least possible trauma to the surrounding tissue. The goal of this procedure is to have the socket heal without any post-removal or postoperative complications that would interfere with proper healing.

Tooth extraction is performed with some form of local, general, or intravenous anesthesia or whatever combination that works best for the patient. This procedure is relatively quick and easy, depending on whether the tooth in question is visible or not. Regardless, only a qualified dentist, periodontists, or an oral surgeon should perform a tooth extraction after thoroughly examining your teeth, gums, and mouth.

Encino Dentist is able to perform an oral examination and tooth extraction if need be. We will also advise you on what to do pre and post-operation.

The Reasons for Tooth Extraction

Even with the best oral hygiene, our teeth may fail and necessitate removal to eliminate the discomfort. Most people will seek an extraction for the following reasons:

  1. Extreme decay

When a tooth is severely affected by bacteria, the decay penetrates the pulp that is located in the center of the tooth. Colonies of bacteria multiply and invade the dental pulp, thus spreading infection so much that a root canal procedure may not be enough. In this case, the affected tooth is removed to stop bacteria from spreading to other parts of the mouth and potentially causing other ailments.

  1. Impacted tooth

Sometimes, a tooth may fail to grow because the gum did not erupt, so it becomes an impacted tooth. The dentist will use a digital radiograph to see a comprehensive x-ray of the impacted tooth and other parts of the gum. This situation mostly happens to wisdom teeth, and the best course of action is removing it to save other teeth from damage. By doing so, you reduce the risk of teeth overcrowding and infections.

  1. Periodontal disease

Bacteria in dental plaque can invade the periodontal ligaments, gums, bones, and other structures adjacent to teeth, thus causing gingivitis, at the onset, then periodontal disease follows after that. A tooth infection can be so severe that the tooth loosens its grip, thus necessitating the extraction of the tooth or its remaining base.

  1. After an Accident

Being in an automobile accident, bicycle, or other events where teeth could be severely damaged can necessitate tooth extraction. Other dental treatments like installing crowns and bridges may be applicable, but in severe cases, removing teeth may be the only option. 

  1. Remove Overcrowding

The causative factors for crowding of teeth are jaw displacement, previous dental trauma, cleft lip or palate, or teeth of variable sizes. When left unattended, crowded teeth can trigger gum disease, jaw pain and damage, premature wearing of teeth, and so on. An extraction may be necessary to remove crowding teeth or in preparation for orthodontist treatments so you can enjoy enduring dental health.

  1. Risk of Infection

When your immunity is undermined due to an ongoing illness, or you are undergoing chemotherapy or about to have an organ transplant, any chance of an infected tooth can necessitate removal. The attending doctor may refer you to a dentist even if the affected tooth is not causing you pain just yet.

What to Do Before Extraction

Even when excruciating pain is keeping you awake at night and preventing you from engaging in regular activity, only a qualified dentist can commission a tooth extraction. They will examine the affected area to determine what the issue is and if there are other remedies other than extracting the tooth. For instance, extreme sensitivity could be caused by a cracked tooth, and a filing is an ideal remedy for this.

Explain to the dentist your medical history, so they determine if there are complications that could interfere with an extraction. If you are prone to infections, they may prescribe antibiotics before and after removal. Also, mention other medical issues like faulty or artificial heart valves, liver disease, bacterial endocarditis, so that the dentist can advise you accordingly.

The Procedure for Tooth Extraction

There are two kinds of tooth extraction procedures:

  • Simple tooth removal

A simple process is done on visible teeth with the aid of local anesthesia that numbs the area adjacent to the tooth. The drug ensures that you don't feel any pain during the process, just a little pressure.

The dentist uses an elevator to make the tooth loose, then removes it with forceps.

  • Surgical removal

This procedure is done when a tooth cannot be accessed easily, either because it is fractured underneath the gum line or it is not fully erupted. The dentist may have to make incisions to elevate the soft tissues, and sometimes, they may split the tooth into multiple pieces to aid in removal.

The oral surgeon will administer general and intravenous anesthesia, with the latter aimed to help you feel relaxed and calm when the process is underway. If you need general anesthesia, you may remain comatose during the procedure.

Once the drug takes effect, the surgeon makes a small incision into your gum, and if need be, they may remove the bone surrounding the tooth. They may also cut the tooth to aid extraction.

Most extractions are followed up by appointment to check progress and remove stitches if necessary.

Recovering from a Tooth Extraction

After the tooth is safely removed, your dentist will advise on the necessary steps you can take to heal the wound speedily. Start by placing an ice pack directly on the cheek to reduce swelling and do this every ten minutes. The dentist will cover the surgical area to place a gauze pad over the surgical area to control the bleeding for about four hours. Meanwhile, bite down this gauze to help the infected area to form a clot.

You may notice some bleeding from the empty socket but don't rinse the blood out; apply a ball of clean cotton wool on this area and then bite it to exert some pressure for about fifteen minutes. If the bleeding fails to subside within one or two hours, contact your dentist for further advice.

Even when the bleeding subsides, avoid rinsing the area within the first 24 hours to allow the socket to heal and afterward, rinse the mouth gently with warm water or salt-water mouthwash. The same goes for alcohol; consuming alcohol within a day of extraction could trigger bleeding and prolong the healing process.

You may experience discomfort once the anesthesia wears off, but this will go away within a couple of days. If the pain is relentless, regular pain medication can help bring relief. Aspirin is a blood thinner and therefore could trigger bleeding, so try other over-the-counter pain relievers instead.

Eating Habits and Dental Hygiene after Tooth Extraction

It is highly recommended that you get enough rest after extraction and if you lie down, prop your head with a pillow to avoid prolonging the bleeding. Consume food and beverages that are only lukewarm and do not chew using that part of the mouth as this could damage the blood clot. Maintain a healthy diet, and as the healing progresses, you can resume eating regular foods and if necessary, take Vitamin C supplements.

People heal at different intervals, but you can give yourself the best chance by keeping the socket clean and free of any debris. Avoid anything that could spike your blood pressure, such as smoking, as this could reactivate the bleeding, therefore, interfering with healing.

You may feel odd initially having a gap in your mouth but do not poke the extraction site with your tongue, straw, food, toothpick, or anything else. Remember to brush and floss your teeth every day as required but avoid touching the extraction site until it heals completely.

What Risks Come with a Tooth Extraction?

Having a tooth removed by a qualified dentist or oral surgeon should go seamlessly, but there are some risks involved for which you must watch out. Apart from the regular bleeding and discomfort in the first few days, there could be complications that necessitate swift intervention by your dentist.

The most common risk of tooth extraction is an infected socket that occurs when there is little to no blood clot, thus leaving the bone socket walls exposed. A dry socket can yield more excruciating pain than a decayed tooth so it must be addressed immediately. Your dentist or oral surgeon will examine the infected area and place a dressing to keep debris away so that the socket can heal uninterrupted. Antibiotics may be necessary to counter this infection until the socket heals.

Other risks associated with a tooth extraction include:

  • Redness and soreness of the surgical area
  • Severe fever and chills could be indicative of a developing infection
  • You may experience nausea or vomiting
  • Discomfort in the chest

If you encounter these signs and symptoms, it is essential that you contact your dentist immediately for an exam.

Find a Tooth Extraction Dentist Near Me

Getting a tooth extraction may sound scary, but as you can see in this article, this procedure is done with strict adherence to safety before, during, and after removal. If you have a decayed tooth or another issue that could necessitate an extraction, visit a qualified dentist for a comprehensive exam. Our team at Encino Dentist handles many tooth extractions to help clients enjoy excellent dental health now and in the foreseeable future. Reach our Encino dentist at 818-650-0429 to make your appointment today.