Do you suffer from toothache?
Have you been diagnosed with severe tooth decay or a cavity that can’t be contained with a routine root canal?
Do you have an impacted wisdom tooth?
If so, you might need a tooth extraction procedure. Your permanent teeth are supposed to last for a lifetime. However, the reality is that the vast majority of us will undergo a dental extraction at some point in our lives.
Reasons for a Tooth Extraction
Periodontists only turn to a dental extraction as a treatment of last resort. Following are some reasons for a tooth extraction:
- Impacted wisdom tooth
- Prophylactic wisdom tooth removal
- Severe dental decay
- Physical trauma
- Oral cancer
- Dental crowding or malocclusion
What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction
The surgical portion of a tooth extraction procedure can be divided into three parts:
- Preoperative preparations
During the preliminary preparatory phase, the patient may have their mouth scanned or x-rayed to confirm existing conditions and identify any dental issues before surgery.
For most extractions, local anesthetics will be administered in the form of novocaine. In some cases, sedatives may also be used to make patients feel less anxious.
Tooth Extraction Phase
After a patient is properly prepared, the tooth extraction procedure can begin. Various tools and techniques may be employed to loosen and remove a tooth depending on its location.
Tools employed include forceps, periosteal elevators, and dental dams. Impacted teeth may need to be sectioned and removed in pieces.
Once the tooth is out, the periodontist will clean up the extraction site. This means removing any remaining dental debris in the socket.
When the socket is cleared out, the doctor may pack it with medicated wound dressings. The wound may also be sutured shut. Most sutures will naturally dissolve after a few days, although some sutures may take as long as a week or more to fully dissolve or fall out.
Permanent sutures can also be employed. Permanent sutures require a follow-up appointment to be removed.
What To Expect After A Tooth Extraction
The tooth extraction procedure itself is just the beginning. Once the tooth has been removed, bleeding staunched, and sutures put in place if necessary, then the healing process can begin.
For most people, the healing period can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. During this crucial time period, your mouth will slowly heal the wound and empty space created by extraction surgery.
Things to expect after a tooth extraction:
Some pain is to be expected following the extraction and for up to 48 hours afterward. Typically, post-surgical pain can be managed by simple over-the-counter painkillers. Contact your periodontist if you experience pain that begins 48 hours following your surgery or experience sudden and severe pain. These could be signs of an infection or a painful condition known as dry socket.
Swelling goes hand-in-hand with pain. Patients can experience some facial swelling following a tooth extraction. Inflammation can be managed with the use of a topical ice pack.
Temporary lifestyle changes
Patients with a tooth extraction should avoid strenuous activities for up to a week after their extraction procedure. Patients should also be extremely careful not to irritate the site of the extraction. Do not poke, prod, scrape, or otherwise disturb the wound. Doing so could delay the healing process.
One very important rule patients are asked to observe is to avoid eating hard or tough foods immediately after their extraction surgery. Hard or chewy foods may inadvertently damage or irritate the wound. Patients should also refrain from consuming overly hot or cold beverages, avoid sucking through a straw, and abstain from alcohol and tobacco use. These dietary restrictions are temporary and should be observed until the wound is fully healed.
What Happens If I Don't Have a Tooth Extracted?
Periodontists typically only turn to dental extraction as a treatment of last resort. However, the decision to have a tooth extracted is entirely up to you. Depending on the reasons behind why a tooth extraction was recommended, the consequences for neglecting a recommended tooth extraction procedure can vary widely.
Neglecting to pull a decayed tooth can cause severe consequences. When a periodontist recommends removing a decay-ridden tooth, it means that tooth is likely beyond salvaging. Leaving such a tooth in place can allow the infection to spread to the rest of the mouth and lead to additional tooth loss, periodontal disease, or even sepsis.
In general, when your periodontist recommends a dental extraction, it is important to your dental health.
Do Extracted Teeth Need to Be Replaced?
Your teeth are an essential part of your mouth. The evidence for replacing missing teeth, even just a single missing tooth, is compelling.
A missing tooth can create aesthetic, functional, and even long-term health challenges.
Reasons to replace missing teeth:
Your teeth are an inseparable part of your smile, and an important consideration for physical attractiveness. It’s difficult to overlook a missing tooth. As a result, some patients with missing teeth can feel self-conscious or lack confidence in social settings.
Your teeth are crucial for chewing, biting, eating, and even speaking. A missing tooth can greatly hamper a person’s quality of life. The vast majority of patients with missing teeth report often feeling worried/concerned about dental problems and never having been pleased or happy with the look of their teeth and gums.
Long-term health concerns
The aesthetic and functional concerns of living with missing teeth are intuitive and well understood by most. However, there are also important long-term health challenges associated with missing teeth.
Failing to replace a missing tooth can result in a natural process known as bone resorption. Bone resorption occurs in the jaw bone directly beneath a missing tooth. Over time, bone resorption will reduce the density and strength of your underlying jaw bone, as well as affect your appearance.
Other health concerns associated with missing teeth include dental shifting and malocclusion.