Our goal at Lincoln Smiles is always to preserve your natural teeth. However, sometimes a crown, filling, or other dental treatment isn’t the answer to an oral problem and the tooth must be extracted. This simply means we pull, or extract, the tooth from its socket in the bone. There are many possible reasons for needing an extraction, and the exact steps in the extraction process depend on the location and extent of the damage.
Why Do I Need A Tooth Extraction?
A variety of conditions or circumstances can require the extraction of a tooth or teeth. Some common reasons include infection, risk of infection, and badly decayed or damaged teeth that cannot be treated in another way. If an infection or deep decay is left untreated, bacteria can build up and the damage can worsen, leading to additional time, cost, and discomfort later on.
Another reason for tooth extraction is to allow other teeth room to grow. A crowded mouth occurs when your teeth are too big, you have extra teeth, or there otherwise simply isn’t enough room in your mouth for all of your teeth. Your teeth begin to overlap each other and may eventually lead to problems with chewing and biting. Additionally, sometimes teeth are impacted and must be surgically removed. Many patients must also have their wisdom teeth pulled, which often occurs in one’s late teens or early adulthood.
What Can I Expect of the Extraction Process?
We typically take x-rays of the affected area before the procedure to determine the extent of the damage and therefore the type of extraction needed. An extraction can be simple or surgical, and each serves its own purpose.
Simple extraction is best used when the tooth to be removed can be seen in the mouth. This procedure involves local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding gum. Then we use a dental tool called an elevator to loosen the tooth followed by dental forceps to remove it. Next, we pack gauze pads into the socket and ask you to bite down to help stop the bleeding.
The other type, surgical extraction, is more complex. Surgical extraction is used when dealing with conditions like impacted teeth or a tooth that has broken off at the gumline. In this case, we administer local anesthesia as well as general or intravenous anesthesia. Next, we make a small cut in your gum to expose the tooth before removing it. Sometimes it is necessary to cut the tooth and remove it in pieces or to remove some of the surrounding bone to make extraction easier.
After the extraction, you may experience mild pain and discomfort. To minimize any unpleasant side effects, apply ice to your cheek for about 10 minutes at a time following the procedure to reduce swelling, and take any prescribed or over-the-counter pain medications as directed. For the first 24 hours after an extraction, it is important to avoid smoking, the use of a straw, and vigorous rinsing or spitting. Also, be sure to eat soft foods like pudding or applesauce and avoid anything crunchy or chewy. More solid foods can be gradually added as the area heals. Also, keeping the extraction site clean is vital to prevent infection. Follow any other instructions we provide and let us know right away if you experience fever, chills, or other signs of infection or if the pain has not subsided after several days.
Our friendly, professional experts at Lincoln Smiles offer tooth extraction in a welcoming and comfortable environment. Call us at 916-543-8800 today to schedule an appointment.