Tooth/Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction, sometimes referred to as oral surgery, is a routine procedure often necessary due to crowding, disease, trauma, or non-restorable tooth decay. While the term "oral surgery" might sound daunting, rest assured that modern dentistry makes this a comfortable and straightforward process.
What Is A Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. The most familiar type of extraction is wisdom tooth removal, often performed due to impaction or infection. Other reasons for extractions include severe tooth decay, damaged or infected teeth, misaligned teeth, advanced gum disease, or preparation for orthodontic treatment.
Process of Tooth Extraction
Before the extraction, your dentist will take an X-ray of your tooth to evaluate the best way to remove it. Local anesthesia is then applied to numb the area. If you're anxious about the procedure, dental sedation can make you more comfortable.
For a simple extraction, where the tooth is visible in the mouth, the dentist will use an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth, and then forceps to remove it. You may feel some pressure during this process, but it should not be painful.
A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure, used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come in yet. In this case, the dentist or oral surgeon needs to make a small cut into your gum to remove the tooth. Sometimes it's necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half in order to extract it.
Post-operative care is critical for healing and includes protecting the clot that forms in the empty socket. Your dentist will provide specific
instructions, but general guidelines include:
Avoid smoking, using straws, and vigorous rinsing or spitting, which can dislodge the clot and delay healing.
Avoid touching the extraction site with your tongue or fingers.
Apply an ice pack to the area to keep swelling down.
Limit strenuous activity for 24 hours after the extraction.
Begin gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water 24 hours after the extraction.
Continue brushing and flossing your teeth, avoiding the extraction site.
Following these instructions will minimize pain and speed up recovery time. However, if you experience prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding, or fever, contact your dentist immediately as these symptoms could indicate a complication.
In conclusion, while tooth extraction is not a procedure anyone looks forward to, it's sometimes necessary for maintaining your overall oral health. With today's modern procedures and follow-up care, it's considered a safe and low-risk treatment.