If one of your teeth have been broken or damaged by decay, your dentist will attempt to fix it with a filling, crown, or another dental treatment. When there’s too much damage for the tooth to be repaired however, the tooth may need to be extracted from its socket in the bone.
An extraction means to have a tooth removed, usually because of disease, trauma or crowding. If you need an extraction, your dentist will first numb the area to lessen discomfort. After the extraction, you will be advised of what post extraction regimen to follow. In most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal. Your mouth will slowly fill in the bone where the tooth root was through the formation of a blood clot.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will take an X-ray of the area to help plan the best way to remove the tooth. Be sure to provide your full medical and dental history and a list of all medicines you take. This should include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements.
There are two types of extractions:
- A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen within the mouth. Simple extractions are the more commonly performed procedure. In a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses forceps to remove the tooth.
- A surgical extraction is a procedure that is a bit more complex. It is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or hasn’t come into the mouth yet. Surgical extractions commonly are done by oral surgeons. However, they are also done by general dentists. The doctor makes a small incision into your gum. 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.
Some very simple steps can be taken by a patient recovering from an extraction to ensure a proper recovery.
Following a tooth extraction:
- Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing.
- Do not smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously.
- Avoid drinking through a straw for 24 hours.
- Follow the diet your dentist suggests.