What Does a Tooth Extraction Mean?
Tooth extraction, also known as exodontia or dental extraction, is a very common procedure we perform at our Golden, CO office. The procedure involves removing or pulling a tooth. An extraction may be necessary if there is disease, trauma or overcrowding.
Reasons for Dental Extractions
There are many reasons that we may need to perform a tooth extraction:
- Wisdom teeth
- Broken teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Loose teeth
- In preparation for braces
Types of Dental Extractions
There are two types of dental extractions we perform:
Simple Tooth Extraction
This extraction occurs when a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. When the tooth is seen, forceps are used to remove the tooth requiring no incisions.
Surgical Tooth Extraction
A surgical extraction is used when the teeth have not broken the gum line or have not descended into the mouth, such as wisdom teeth. It is a more complex procedure that may require general anesthesia.
How is a Tooth Extraction Procedure Performed?
If a tooth extraction is necessary, Dr. Gill or Dr. Kenson will perform an X-ray to further evaluate the tooth. The extraction procedure may be performed under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort, or general anesthesia if more than one tooth is removed. After the extraction, stitches may be necessary. Alternatively, a bridge, implant or denture will be used to replace one or more teeth.
What type of anesthesia is used during a tooth extraction procedure?
Tooth extraction is performed using the same local anesthetic that is administered when you get a filling or have a root canal. This injected medication numbs the area well around the tooth so you do not feel any pain during the procedure. After your appointment, your lips, cheek, and one side of the mouth may feel numb and tingly for a few hours. You should not eat anything until full sensation has returned.
What is the Recovery from a Dental Extraction Like?
After the extraction, patients may experience a moderate amount of pain. Patients can help relieve the pain by:
- Rinsing mouth with warm salt water
- Applying ice to the external area where swelling occurs
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication
We may prescribe antibiotics to fight infection. Patients should avoid certain foods and hot liquids for 24 hours after the procedure. A follow-up appointment may be necessary to remove stitches. Most patients recover completely from a tooth extraction within one to two weeks.
Tooth Extraction Patient Testimonial
“I was experiencing tooth pain and stopped by the office to see if I could get in for an appt. The staff up front are very friendly and got me an appt the next day. The next day I was diagnosed and was able to make another appointment the very same day to resolve the problem. Very impressed with the entire staff here and would recommend them to anyone.”
Wisdom Teeth Extractions
The wisdom teeth develop during early adulthood, between the ages of 15 and 25. Most mouths are too small to support these additional molars. Therefore, a dental extraction is necessary. If not removed, the wisdom teeth may cause pain, infection and swelling of the face or gum line, as well as the development of cysts and tumors.
For this procedure, we will administer an anesthetic. First, we will open the gum tissue over the tooth to remove any bone that is covering it. The connecting tissue is then separated so that the entire tooth can be removed. The area is closed with sutures and gauze will help control bleeding.
Recovery From Wisdom Teeth Removal
After surgery, we will prescribe our patients painkillers to speed up the recovery process and reduce pain. Patients should eat only soft foods and liquids for the first few days. Patients should gently rinse their mouth with warm salt water to relieve swelling and pain. Stitches are removed within a few days.
Are There Risks to a Tooth Extraction Procedure?
This dental procedure is safe for most patients with minimal to no complications. While most complications are rare, they may include:
- Accidental damage to surrounding teeth
- Soreness in the jaw
- Fractured jaw
- Dry socket or exposure of bone in the tooth socket
Patients may also experience side effects from local and general anesthesia. Dr. Gill or Dr. Kenson will discuss any potential side effects before the procedure.
Are there tooth extraction alternatives?
The primary alternative to tooth extraction is to have a root canal. This procedure removes the infected material at the center of a damaged tooth, including the root and all of the nerves of the tooth. Root canal therapy may be effective at addressing infection and the damage it causes, but tooth extractions may be needed for other reasons. Your dentist wants to do everything that can be done to save your natural teeth. Extraction is recommended as the last option when other treatments will not achieve the best outcome.
Can tooth extractions be prevented?
A dentist may recommend tooth extraction for a number of reasons, not all of them are preventable. Infection is one of the leading problems for which extraction may be necessary. In this situation, it may be possible to prevent tooth removal by first preventing infection. It doesn’t take much to avoid extensive tooth damage. To keep the mouth healthy, brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Floss your teeth daily, and see your dentist every six months. Tooth injury may be prevented by avoiding chewing on hard objects and wearing an appropriate mouthguard when playing sports.
How can I prepare for a tooth extraction?
There are no special precautions for tooth extraction in most cases. Some patients may need to take antibiotics before their extraction procedure. It is important to make your dentist aware of any health conditions that make you more susceptible to infection. You may be advised to avoid certain medications, such as aspirin, before your procedure to decrease the risk of excessive bleeding. If you are feeling anxious about your upcoming tooth extraction, talk to your dentist. We are happy to provide tips to help calm your nerves so your appointment is as successful as possible.
How soon after a tooth extraction can I resume my regular diet?
The first few days after tooth extraction, the primary goal is to allow a blood clot to form in the empty socket. You may be able to start liquids a few hours after your appointment, once sensation has returned to the cheeks, tongue, and lips. Softer foods can be eaten starting the day of your extraction. Examples include yogurt, pudding, and soup with very soft vegetables. You should NOT drink from a straw for several days so, while you can have shakes or smoothies, you must drink them from the cup.
The day after your procedure, you may start eating foods that are solid but do not require a lot of chewing. Eggs, mashed potatoes, and pasta, for example. Alcohol and smoking should be avoided. By two weeks post-extraction, your socket should be healing nicely and you can gradually add foods that you normally eat.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have a damaged tooth and are suffering from pain, you may need a tooth extraction. Contact us at (303) 277-9600 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nancy Gill or Dr. Dallas Kenson. Our practice serves Golden, Denver, and surrounding areas in Colorado.