Dental extraction is the removal of teeth from the dental socket in the jawbone. They are done in order to remove teeth that have been badly damaged due to tooth decay, periodontal disease or dental trauma. Wisdom teeth tend to get stuck under the gums and will be unable to grow normally. This may cause further infections to both the teeth and the gums. Hence, they are extracted. Sometimes, when teeth are crowded, a tooth can be extracted to make room for others, and also for proper teeth alignment. It can be used as the last resort for treatment.
How is the procedure done?
The procedure is done in a single visit. It would not be too painful as the dental surgeon uses anesthesia to numb the gums and the adjoining tissues. Only a feeling of pressure is experienced.
It could be a simple procedure or a surgical procedure depending on the type of the tooth that is getting extracted, its condition, and the anatomy of the root and bone density.
The simpler procedure is carried out by administering a small dosage of anesthesia. This numbs the gums, after which, an instrument called the elevator will be used to loosen the tooth from the socket, before being pulled out completely. The recovery time after surgery is very less.
The surgical procedure is more complex and requires a high dosage of anesthesia. Here, the dental surgeon makes an incision in the gum to surgically remove the affected tooth. It takes more time for recovery as we operate on the gum tissue.
Restorations after extraction
There are many options for restoring the lost tooth, such as dental implants and bridges. A decision will be taken by the dental surgeon and the patient depending on the severity of the case.
However, the restoration process is very critical, because, after a tooth extraction, bone and soft tissue tend to shrink if no restoration or treatment is done. This can leave insufficient bone volume for implant placement or may cause a gap between the teeth and the gums underneath a dental bridge.
What are the complications of dental extraction?
- Accidental damage to adjacent teeth.
- Incomplete extraction, during which a tooth root remains in the jaw.
- Alignment problems associated with chewing ability. Misaligned teeth may cause pain, teeth grinding and cracking. Misaligned teeth can trap food between them, making them difficult to clean. Therefore, it increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Fractured jaw caused by the pressure applied during the extraction.
- Infection of the gums.
- Nerve injury, which is primarily an issue caused by the extraction of lower wisdom teeth. It can occur during the removal of any tooth if the nerve is near the extraction site.
Aftercare and precautions
- Bleeding is normal after extraction. The patient will be allowed to bite on a piece of gauze to put pressure on the tooth and allow the blood to clot.
- Swelling can also occur that we treat with ice bags.
- Brush and floss the other teeth as usual. Avoid brushing the teeth and gum next to the extracted tooth.
- After 24 hours from the extraction of the tooth, gently rinse the socket with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water) after meals and before bed for the next five days at least.
The healing process takes about five to seven days. The gum area would heal completely in three to four weeks.