Teeth extraction is a popular procedure in dentistry, but also the most feared. When a tooth gets broken or damaged due to trauma or infection, the dentist will attempt a repair with a dental crown, filling or root canal treatment. However, the damage or infection may be so severe that the only alternative is to…
Step-By-Step Guide To Tooth Extraction
Most people would like to keep a mouth full of natural teeth for their entire lives, but sometimes a tooth extraction is necessary. There are specific reasons why a dentist may recommend an extraction, and in general, it is performed if the tooth is causing pain and cannot be saved. Extraction consists of several steps as well as post-care.
Reasons for tooth extraction
Certain circumstances warrant a tooth extraction. One is if there is trauma to the tooth that also affects the surrounding gums, bone, and soft tissues. A tooth may need to be removed if there is excessive gum disease or tooth decay that has done irreparable damage to the tooth.
Extraction may also be performed if there is not enough room in the mouth for all the teeth. This crowding causes misalignment of the teeth, and tooth removal may be an initial step when someone gets braces.
Tooth extraction steps
The removal procedure may require just a simple extraction or a surgical one, and the steps are similar for both methods.
Prior to removal, the dentist will numb the tooth and areas surrounding it so the patient will not feel any pain.
During extraction, the tooth is removed from its socket. To do so, the dentist rocks the tooth back and forth to widen the socket so the tooth can be separated from the associated ligament. Next, the dentist uses forceps to grasp the tooth and pull it out of the socket.
After the tooth is removed, the dentist must close the space where it used to be. Any loose bone or infected tissue will be removed, and the socket will be compressed so it can return to its original size. If there are any sharp edges of bone, the dentist will round them off.
The dentist will apply firm pressure with gauze to minimize any bleeding. If the tooth extraction was performed surgically, the dentist will stitch up the removal site to prevent infection.
The recovery process after tooth extraction typically takes a few days. Immediately after the removal, the patient may need to keep the gauze on the site and retain pressure for 30 to 60 minutes to help control bleeding. If there is swelling, an ice pack can be used on the face.
Other things the patient can do to speed up recovery, reduce infection risk, and lessen soreness include:
- Change gauze as needed
- Take it easy for at least 24 hours
- Take any prescription pain medication
- Avoid smoking as well as drinking from a straw
- Eat only soft foods for the first couple of days
- Stay away from the removal site when flossing and brushing
Some pain and swelling are normal after the extraction. However, patients should contact the dentist if there is excessive bleeding, severe pain, fever, or excessive discharge from the site.
If someone needs a tooth extraction, it helps to know what to expect. Following the proper recovery advice is also important to reduce the risk of infection and to minimize healing time.
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