The two primary reasons for tooth extractions are cavities and periodontal disease. Oral bacteria can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. In some cases, tooth decay can affect the deep, inner layers of a tooth. In other instances, periodontal disease can erode the bone that supports the teeth. Both of these may require an extraction if other restorative treatments are not feasible.
Extractions may also be indicated if there is severe crowding. For this reason, many general dentists and specialists recommend extractions to make sufficient room before beginning orthodontic treatment.
There are two types of dental extractions: simple and surgical. Here are the differences between the two:
- Simple Extraction: This type of tooth removal is typically performed on teeth that are clearly visible above the gum line. To perform this, Dr. Jackson will simply loosen the tooth and gently lift it from the socket.
- Surgical Extraction: If a tooth is weak, impacted, or fractured at the gum line, a surgical extraction is necessary. This involves slight removal of gum and bone tissue around the tooth. At times, the tooth may be divided into sections to make removal easier. Surgical extractions typically require stitches.
Some patients have wisdom teeth that completely erupt and become fully functional. Others may only develop one or two. Some people do not even have them at all. Many times, wisdom teeth only partially erupt or develop abnormally. In these cases, removal is recommended. This procedure is typically performed when patients are in their late teens or early twenties. These problematic teeth can trap food and bacteria, which can lead to infection, decay, gum disease, and other issues. By removing them at an early age, you can prevent more serious issues from developing in the future.
Fortunately, due to advances in dental technology, most patients experience minimal pain following extractions. Any discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Depending on the extent of treatment, you may be given prescriptions as well, including pain medication and an antibiotic. Slight bleeding is normal during the first several hours. This can be managed by biting down firmly on a piece of gauze for approximately 15 minutes. If no improvement is noted, biting down on a damp tea bag can help to slow the bleeding. (Tannic acid found in tea can aid in shrinking blood vessels and capillaries.)
For the first 24 hours, any swelling can be addressed with ice packs or cold compresses, which can be applied to the outer jaw in 20-minute increments. Heavy exercise should be avoided for at least two days, as strenuous activity can result in increased bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. You will be given a list of detailed post-operative instructions. To ensure a successful and quick recovery, follow these guidelines closely. Generally, we will schedule you for a follow-up after about one week to assess your healing.