When a tooth is badly decayed or damaged and cannot be saved, it must be professionally removed through a procedure called a tooth extraction. Extractions are commonly performed on teeth that are severely decayed or broken, or in cases where the mouth does not have space for the tooth– as is the case with most wisdom teeth extractions or extractions performed in conjunction to orthodontic treatment. While many patients may be in pain prior to an extraction, the actual extraction procedure is virtually painless and many patients heal quickly and resume normal functions within a reasonable time post-procedure.
Wisdom teeth, which typically come in during your teens or twenties, may need to be extracted if they are decayed, infected, or causing pain. They may get impacted—stuck underneath other teeth—which also requires extraction.
Most visible teeth can be removed with a simple extraction, where your dentist loosens the tooth, then removes it carefully with forceps. This procedure typically requires just a local anesthetic (an injection) and often only takes a few minutes to complete.
In more complex cases a surgical extraction may be needed if:
During a surgical extraction, a local anesthetic may be provided. Both procedures are virtually painless, although you might feel pressure or pulling.
Tip: Don’t smoke on the day of surgery, as it can increase the chance of dry socket, a painful condition that occurs when a blood clot doesn’t form in the hole, breaks off, or breaks down too early.
Wisdom teeth extraction is a common type of tooth extraction that can require either simple or surgical extraction. Everyone is born with wisdom teeth, although not all teeth will erupt and not everyone has all four wisdom teeth. If your wisdom teeth are positioned correctly they do not need to be removed and will not cause dental problems. Only an x-ray of the area can accurately
Often there is not enough space for wisdom teeth to erupt behind the molars, and the teeth must therefore be removed or there is a risk for crowding. It is common to feel pain or pressure from wisdom teeth movement, although many patients may never feel any signs that wisdom teeth should be removed.
Wisdom teeth that have erupted, grown in, may need to be extracted if they are crowding other teeth, decayed, infected or causing pain. Wisdom teeth often grow in during a person’s late teens or twenties, although many older adults also have their wisdom teeth removed. A simple extraction is performed to pop the teeth out of their socket, and a healing process of several weeks regrows the tissue to cover the hole where the tooth once was.
Impacted wisdom teeth are fully developed wisdom teeth that lie below the jaw bone. Impacted teeth must be removed surgically, a procedure during which the oral surgeon numbs the region and cuts through the jaw bone and tissues to uncover and extract the teeth. Surgical extractions require sutures to close the incision where the dentist removed the teeth.
Directly following a tooth extraction, you’ll be asked to keep gauze on the extraction site to help the blood clot. It’s important to protect this clot as the wound heals. Eat soft foods, and don’t smoke, use a straw or spit, as these actions can dislodge the clot.
Managing pain from a tooth extraction is top priority, since most people feel some discomfort or pain after having a tooth extracted. Your oral surgeon may prescribe antibiotics to treat or prevent infection. You can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen to help relieve the pain. Your dentist can recommend the dosage that’s right for you. Use of icepacks can decrease any swelling in the jaw or cheeks. If your jaw is still stiff after any swelling has subsided, alternate cold packs with warm compresses.
In general, swelling and bleeding last only a day or two after the extraction and any pain from a tooth extraction should subside after a few days. Don’t smoke on the day of surgery, as it can increase the chance of dry socket, a painful condition that occurs when a blood clot doesn’t form in the hole, breaks off, or breaks down too early.
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