Sometimes, teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed. The most common reason for extracting a tooth is tooth damage due to breakage or decay. Some other possible reasons for tooth extraction are as follows:
- Extra teeth which are blocking other teeth from coming in.
- Severe gum disease which may affect the supporting tissues and bone structures of teeth.
- Severe tooth decay or infection.
- In preparation for orthodontic treatment (braces)
- Insufficient space for wisdom teeth (impacted wisdom teeth).
- Receiving radiation to the head and neck may require extraction of teeth in the field of radiation.
There are two types of extractions:
- A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth.
- A surgical extraction involves teeth that cannot be seen easily in the mouth, either because they have broken off at the gum line or because they have not come in yet. In a surgical extraction, we will need to make an incision in your gum to reach the tooth. In some cases, the tooth will need to be broken into sections to be removed.
Most simple extractions do not cause much discomfort after the procedure. Because surgical extractions are more complicated, they generally cause more pain after the procedure. The level and duration of discomfort depend on the difficulty of the extraction. We will prescribe the appropriate pain medication to make you comfortable.
You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was. That causes more bleeding and can lead to a dry socket, which occurs in about 5% of all extractions. It is most common when lower back teeth are removed and happens more often in smokers and women who take birth control pills.
A dry socket occurs when a blood clot doesnt form in the hole or the blood clot prematurely breaks off or breaks down. In a dry socket, the underlying bone is exposed to air and food. This can be very painful and can cause a bad odor or taste. A dry socket needs to be treated with a medicated dressing to stop the pain and encourage the area to heal.