Dr Juliana Hughes explains dental extractions.
What is a dental extraction?
A dental extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. It can be a simple or surgical procedure.
Why would you need to remove a tooth?
There are many reasons you might have a extract a tooth. If your tooth becomes broken or damaged by decay and is left untreated restoration might not be possible.
If you have a tooth that is heavily decayed, is causing extreme pain or has a cyst or infection extracting the tooth might be the best option. Your dentist will always talk through all the options and advise the best treatment and prognosis.
Before dental extraction
Before you have a tooth removed a radiograph will be taken to assess roots and how heavily damaged/decayed the tooth is. This will help the dentist to know how complicated the extraction is and if restoration is possible. We will take full medical history to ensure that you are completely safe to have the treatment in our studios
What is the difference between simple and surgical?
A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. In a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator then an instrument called forceps is used to remove the tooth.
• A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure and usually done by an oral surgeon.
The patient can expect some discomfort after even simple extractions. Usually it is mild.
Your dentist will give you detailed instructions on what to do after the procedure, such as:
- The use of anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen can greatly decrease pain after a tooth extraction.
- Application of ice packs on the face to reduce swelling.
- Eat soft and cold food for a few days.
- Gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery can help with the healing.
- No smoking for 24 to 72 hours (smoking could cause dry socket, see below).
- No spitting out or vigorous rinse.
Possible risks of dental extraction
Whilst there usually is nothing to worry about extracting a tooth has some risks. Your dentist will explain all of these to you and give advice to minimise risks and discomfort.
Dry Socket: this occurs when a blood clot does not form in the hole or the blood clot beaks off or breaks down too early (usually happens when patient smokes on the first few days after the procedure).
Infection, bleeding, swelling, bruising.
Accidental damage to the inferior alveolar nerve causing long lasting numbness in the lower lip and chin. This is rare and complete healing may take three to six months. The numbness may be permanent but this is very uncommon.
The fracture of the tooth/root during the procedure requiring subsequent surgical procedure.
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