Tooth Extractions

Professional Extractions

Tooth extraction is the removal of the entire tooth structure from its position in the jaw bone. Extractions are done in dental offices by your general dentist, although in certain circumstances they may need to be performed by a dental surgeon. Extractions are always performed with either local or general anesthetic. Extracting a tooth is only recommended in extreme cases where preserving the natural tooth is simply not an option. Severe decay where infection, a general health condition or gum disease are a concern are the most common reason for extraction.

Type of extraction

Depending on the individual patients condition, extractions fall in to 2 general types:

Simple extraction: This type of extraction is only done under local anesthetic. To begin, your dentist will use a tool called an elevator to loosen the tooth. Once the tooth is loose, a forceps is used to completely remove the tooth. The tooth may need to be removed in pieces in more complicated cases to ensure patient comfort.

Surgical extraction: In cases where a simple extraction is not possible, a surgical extraction will be performed by a dental surgeon. Local anesthetic is used for this procedure if only one tooth needs to be extracted. In cases where multiple teeth need to be removed, general anesthetic is used to ensure patient comfort and also to make things easier for the surgeon!

Preparation for tooth extraction

Before any extraction is performed, the dentist will make a full report on the patient’s health, including x-rays of the affected area, to ensure a safe procedure. For wisdom teeth extractions, a full mouth x-ray is required to see exactly where the teeth are positioned and their connection to neighboring teeth. Patients should be healthy before the procedure, if you have a cold or symptoms such as fever or nausea, the procedure should be postponed until you are feeling better. In some cases antibiotics may be prescribed before treatment to avoid infection.

If you are a smoker, you will need to stay away from smoking on the day of the procedure to avoid complications.

The procedure

Both extraction types are pretty much carried out in a similar fashion. The main steps are as follows: the area is numbed with anesthetic, the tooth is loosened, and then the tooth is removed. In the remaining socket a blood clot will form. The dentist will get you to bite down on some gauze to help stop bleeding. To finish the treatment, some resorbing stitches are used to close the socket.

Post-procedure extraction care

Once your treatment is complete, your dentist will give you specific aftercare instructions. Below, you will find general aftercare rules that will apply to all extraction patients:

  • Take any medications prescribed, usually antibiotics and/or painkillers;
  • Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke or if possible do not smoke at all during the healing process;
  • For the first 24 hours, avoid rinsing, drinking with a straw and spitting which could dislodge the blood clot formed in the socket;
  • Change your diet after the procedure, eat soft food while healing. You can gradually introduce solid food as your mouth heals but avoid pressure on the exposed gum by chewing with the opposite side of your mouth;
  • Be sure to carefully follow dental hygiene instructions to avoid infection. As much as possible avoid the socket to prevent irritation;
  • While the anesthetic wears off, be sure to rest.

No pain should be felt by the patient during the extraction process, if you experience any be sure to let the dentist know right away so adjustments can be made. If you experience persistent bleeding or severe pain which lasts for more than 24 hours after the procedure contact your dentist immediately for further aftercare instructions.