Tooth extraction is a relatively quick outpatient procedure that can help to improve your dental health. If there is too much damage for a tooth to be effectively repaired, your dentist may recommend that the tooth be removed. Tooth extraction may be an option to explore when other options are no longer viable.
What Is a Tooth Extraction?
Simply put, a tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. It is a common procedure—most people have had a tooth extraction when they have their wisdom teeth removed. However, the procedure is also used if a tooth is broken or badly decayed. A very loose tooth may also be removed if it can’t be saved, even with a bone graft.
Types of Tooth Extractions
There are two types of tooth extraction. The type of extraction will be simple or surgical, depending on whether the tooth that needs to be removed is visible or impacted in the gums.
A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that is visible in the mouth and can be performed by a general dentist. For a simple extraction, the patient receives a local anesthetic which numbs the area around the tooth. The dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator and then uses a forceps to remove the subject tooth.
A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure and is commonly performed on teeth that have either broken off at the gum line or have not entered the mouth yet. The subject tooth is hidden below the gum line. Surgical extractions are commonly performed by oral surgeons, but may also be performed by a general dentist. In most cases, the patient receives both local anesthesia and intravenous anesthesia to numb the area and help them remain calm and relaxed.
Sometimes, they may also receive general anesthesia, which will allow the patient to remain unconscious during the procedure.The dentist makes a small incision into the gums to expose the subject tooth.
They may need to remove some of the bone surrounding the tooth or cut the tooth into smaller pieces before it can be extracted.No matter what type of tooth extraction is being performed, the patient receives anesthesia. You can expect to feel pressure, but no pain.
What Symptoms Require a Tooth Extraction?
If you have a tooth that has been broken or damaged by decay or accident, your dentist will try to fix it with a filling, crown, or other treatment. Sometimes, however, a tooth may be too damaged for these options to be effective. In this case, a tooth will need to be extracted.
There are many reasons that people have teeth removed. Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in, and sometimes baby teeth don’t fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in properly. Patients with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients or people who have had organ transplants, may need to have a tooth extraction if they have infected teeth.
One of the most common cases of tooth extraction is the removal of wisdom teeth. Many people have their wisdom teeth removed in their late teens or early twenties. The teeth need to be removed if they are decayed, cause pain, or have a cyst These teeth often get stuck in the jaw and do not enter the mouth.
This can irritate the gums, causing pain and swelling. If you need to have all four wisdom teeth removed, your dentist can usually take them all out at the same time. If you expect to have treatment with intravenous biphosphonates for a medical condition, it is a good idea to talk to your dentist first. If you need a tooth extraction, this should be done before the treatment begins. Having a tooth extraction after biphosphonate treatment increases the risk of osteonecrosis (death of bone) in the jaw.
Before scheduling the procedure, your dentist will take X-rays of your mouth in order to plan the best way to remove the tooth. A panoramic X-ray takes a picture of all of your teeth at once, and can show several things to help your dentist plan the extraction, especially how your teeth are positioned in the mouth.
It is important to give your dentist your full and thorough medical and dental history as well as a list of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. If you take vitamins or herbal supplements, be sure to include those, as well. If you have a weakened immune system, an infection at the time of surgery, or specific medical conditions, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to be taken before and after the procedure. Antibiotics may also be given if you’re likely to have a long surgery.
If your procedure involves intravenous (IV) anesthesia, you should wear clothing with short sleeves or loose sleeves that can be rolled up, so that your dentist can easily administer the IV line. Don’t eat or drink anything for six to eight hours beforehand and don’t smoke before the procedure.If you have a cough, stuffy nose, or cold up to a week before your tooth extraction, let your dentist know. They may want to avoid anesthesia until you recover from your cold. The same thing applies if you have nausea and vomiting the night before the procedure—tell your dentist as soon as possible. You may need a change in the planned anesthesia or to reschedule the procedure.
Follow-Up and Recovery
A tooth extraction is a surgery. You may feel some discomfort after even a simple extraction. Your dentist will provide detailed instructions on what to do and what to expect after your procedure. If you have questions, make sure to ask them before you leave the office.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective at managing pain after a tooth extraction. Drugs like ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) can help. Take the dose your doctor recommends, with the first dose before the local anesthesia wears off. Ask your doctor for complete instructions.
You may experience more pain and discomfort after a surgical extraction, depending on how difficult the tooth was to remove. Your dentist may prescribe pain medication and then suggest an NSAID. Most pain subsides after a couple of days.Other things you can do to help ensure that your recovery goes smoothly include applying an ice pack to your cheek after the procedure to reduce swelling, eating soft foods like yogurt or applesauce the day after your procedure, and using pillows to prop your head up when you lie down. It is a good idea to rest and relax for the first 24 hours and allow your body to recover from the anesthesia.
After a tooth extraction, a blood clot naturally forms in the socket (the hole in the bone where the tooth has been extracted). This blood clot is important for your mouth to heal properly. If the blood clot does not form or dislodges, the bone inside the socket can be exposed; a condition referred to as “dry socket.” This can be very painful and cause a bad odor or taste as the socket is exposed to food and air.
It is important to avoid smoking, spitting, or using a straw after your tooth extraction, as these actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole and create dry socket. If it does happen, however, your dentist can protect the area by putting a medicated dressing over it for a few days to help a new clot form and encourage the area to heal.
Other potential problems include accidental damage to nearby teeth or fillings, a fractured jaw caused by the pressure put on the jaw during the procedure, a hole in the sinus during removal of an upper molar (which usually closes up by itself within a few weeks), and soreness in the jaw muscles and/or jaw joint. In rare cases, you might experience long-lasting numbness in the lower lip and chin.
When to Call Your Dentist
In some cases, more serious complications may occur. Call your dentist or oral surgeon right away if you experience any of the following:
If you develop an infection, your doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics.
What Is the Cost?
The cost of a tooth extraction is influenced by several factors, including whether the procedure is a simple or surgical extraction and the type of anesthesia needed. Many services are also tailored to an area’s cost of living, so where you live may also impact the cost of the procedure.
A simple extraction can run between $75.00 and $200.00 per tooth and maybe more depending on the type of anesthesia required.The cost of a surgical extraction is significantly higher since the procedure is more complex. removing an impacted tooth can run between $800.00 to $4000.00.
Your dentist will always do their best to repair your teeth. However, if the tooth is beyond repair, or causes a threat to your overall health, it sometimes makes more sense to have it removed. While there are risks to a tooth extraction, you can minimize those risks by closely following your dentist’s instructions. If you have questions about a procedure, always ask your doctor.