Tooth decay, gum disease, a dental fracture that can’t be repaired—these are some situations in which a tooth may have to be extracted. A tooth could also be poorly positioned in the mouth or need to be removed to create space prior to orthodontic treatment.
People often describe the process of tooth extraction as “getting a tooth pulled”, but that paints an inaccurate picture. Dentists do not really pull out teeth—if they did, it would likely damage the surrounding teeth, gums, and bone.
Instead, if a tooth needs to be removed the area around the tooth is first numbed, and then the tooth is luxated—meaning the tooth is moved back and forth and side to side until it is loose enough to wiggle out.
In more complicated situations, such as when a tooth has several roots going in different directions, the tooth will be cut into two or more pieces to ensure safe removal.
Patients respond differently to tooth extractions, but it is normal to feel some discomfort right after the freezing wears off. This discomfort can usually be managed by taking an over the counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Bleeding or swelling post-extraction is usually minimal, but your dentist will tell you what to expect in your specific situation.
Extracted teeth don’t always need to be replaced. However, some teeth are more important than others for function, arch stability, or aesthetics. Your dentist will advise you on the best course of action for your situation.
When it comes to the question of keeping or extracting wisdom teeth, dentists will usually make a recommendation when a patient is between 18 and 22 years old, based on dental examination and radiographs. Sometimes there is sufficient room in the mouth, and wisdom teeth can come in and function like normal teeth.
When a wisdom tooth stays buried in bone and is unlikely to erupt, a decision needs to be made regarding whether or not to extract based on the likelihood of problems arising in the future. The most problematic wisdom tooth is the one that comes part way into the mouth and stalls out. The best course of action for these teeth is to remove them in a timely way and not wait until they cause damage or become infected.
When a patient has an unusually challenging case, we may refer them to an oral surgeon. This is a dental specialist with advanced training in jaw surgery, including tooth removal.
Contact Affinity Dental Sherwood Park today for more information about tooth extractions.