Tooth extractions are very useful and can help prevent a myriad of problems. Ideally, we’d be able to save every one of your teeth, but sometimes that is simply not possible. In these cases, a tooth extraction may be the most viable treatment. It is often used as a last resort or an essential preventive measure. Your dentist in Lincoln, NE at Pioneer Greens Dentistry will be able to make you as comfortable as possible when performing your tooth extraction.
Common Reasons for Extractions
A tooth often needs to be extracted because it has become too badly damaged from trauma or decay. This means that there is not enough viable dental structure to support a restoration like a dental crown or filling. Some other common reasons are:
- Crowding: There are many instances where all of a person’s teeth may not be able to fit in their mouth. This crowding can cause the teeth to become crooked, or prevent them from erupting at all. Crowded teeth are harder to clean, and are impossible to straighten with treatments like Invisalign if they do not have room to move. An extraction can help create this space.
- Infection: If tooth decay has reached the innermost layer of the tooth (the dental pulp) and cannot be treated effectively by root canal therapy, an extraction may be the best way to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Risk of Infection: A compromised immune system that stems from preexisting medical conditions may make a person particularly vulnerable to infection. A tooth extraction may be the best way to prevent an infection from happening.
- Impaction: This mostly refers to the wisdom teeth. Often, they do not have enough room to erupt into the mouth, so they can become stuck and start moving your other teeth. This can lead to both crowding and an infection, and the best way to alleviate it is to have them extracted. We will always examine your wisdom teeth during your normal check-up and will let you know the best time to have them removed.
What To Expect When Getting a Tooth Extracted
Most people’s initial thought about tooth extraction is that it is going to hurt. This is not the case with modern dentistry. Before every tooth extraction, you will be numbed using local anesthesia so that you will not experience any physical discomfort. If you are having your wisdom teeth removed, this involves an incision on your gums, so you will be given strong general anesthetic to assure that you will sleep through the entire procedure.
Dr. Chris or Dr. Claire Haag will extract the tooth by using forceps to gently grasp it and rock it back and forth. This gradually loosens the tooth so that it is easier to remove, and is a much milder experience for the patient than simply pulling. A tooth may need to be extracted in pieces if it is particularly difficult to remove.
Afterward, a gauze pad will be packed into the empty socket and you’ll be asked to bite down. This will help manage the bleeding. If you have had your wisdom teeth extracted, you will have self-dissolving stitches placed in your gums to close the incisions.
Following a tooth extraction, you may experience some slight soreness. You can take a few simple steps to minimize your discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and help speed up your recovery:
- Take medication as prescribed
- Change your gauze as often as your dentist has recommended. Gently bite down to reduce the bleeding and help your blood clot.
- Use a cold compress to help reduce any swelling
- Limit physical activity the day of and after the extraction. This period of rest may be longer for wisdom teeth extractions, so be sure to follow the directions from Dr. Chris and Dr. Claire.
- Do not drink from a straw for at least 24 hours.
- Eat softer foods such as pudding, yogurt, or applesauce. You will gradually be able to add solid food back in as you heal.
- Prop your head up when lying down, as being flat may prolong bleeding
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth while avoiding the extraction site.
The healing period usually takes about one to two weeks. At this point, you can talk to your dentist in Lincoln, NE about replacing your missing tooth with a dental implant, fixed bridge, or denture.
If you would like to know more about extractions, how they work, and how they can help you, please give us a call today. We’re always available to answer any of your questions.