You want to keep your teeth for a lifetime, but circumstances can arise that prompt your dentist to recommend removing a tooth for the good of your dental health. And although many of your teeth are easily removable, it’s occasionally more complicated, and requires a more involved procedure. Here’s why the surgical extraction of teeth may become necessary, and how your dentist differentiates these procedures from others.
Why Can’t a Tooth be Saved?
Teeth may need to be removed due to trauma, disease or crowding. When a tooth cannot be repaired with a filling or a crown because of an accident or extensive decay, an extraction may be your best recourse. Teeth that aren’t supported by enough bone due to periodontal disease are also candidates for removal.
Keep in mind it’s not unusual for an orthodontist to recommend an extraction or two before orthodontic treatment begins because of crowed teeth. Similarly, wisdom teeth are frequently extracted because of the awkward position in which they grow behind your molars.
Simple Extractions vs. Surgical Extractions
The surgical extraction of teeth is actually the most common surgical procedure provided in the United States. When a tooth is visible above the gum line and your dentist can easily remove it with forceps, the procedure is called a forceps extraction. If a tooth is deeply embedded in bone, however, your dentist needs to remove gum tissue or bone in order to extract it. This is called a surgical extraction, and requires stitches to close the site so that it can heal properly. The doctor may also prescribe a more specific pain medication following the procedure.
Reasons for Surgical Extractions
By taking an x-ray and examining your tooth, your dentist can usually determine whether or not your extraction will be forceps or surgical. General indications for surgical extractions are where the upper portion of the tooth is quite brittle and the roots of tooth are quite firmly embedded in bone. There are also times when a forceps extraction turns into a surgical. If a tooth breaks off during the procedure, for instance, it may need to be taken out in smaller parts in a controlled way.
Wisdom teeth often face surgical extraction because they’re usually impacted, meaning they are not completely erupted into the mouth. This condition requires cutting through bone and tissue. Removing severely broken down teeth, root tips or teeth with long-curved roots are other examples of surgical extractions. Then there are times when the bone around a tooth has become dense, resulting in the need for surgical treatment.
With surgical extractions, you’ll most likely have one or more stitches at the extraction site. Regardless of whether your extraction is forceps or surgical, it’s always important to closely follow your dentist’s after-care instructions to speed recovery and avoid any complications.
Bite down on a gauze pad for 1 hour after the extraction to help stop the bleeding. Avoid unnecessary talking, eating and drinking for the first two hours after extraction. Drink plenty of lukewarm or cold liquids after the bleeding subsides. Maintain your diet, but start with clear liquids and soft foods for the first day. Don’t rinse or brush your teeth for 12 hours. Avoid the surgical area when brushing, although you can gently rinse with a 1/2 teaspoon of table salt in a glass of lukewarm water on the following day. Don’t use straws, smoke or spit forcefully as long as there is bleeding. Follow your dentist’s instructions on using any prescribed pain medications. Call your dentist if you have any persistent pain or bleeding.
The surgical extraction of teeth may sound a bit daunting, but with today’s modern procedures and anesthesia, you have nothing to worry about. Afterwards, you and your dentist can discuss tooth replacement options to restore the function and beauty to your smile.
Tips for Pain Management After TOOTH REMOVAL
Here are a few tips to help minimize your discomfort and speed recovery: