Most dentists try to save a tooth through root canals. However, sometimes a tooth is so badly damaged it cannot be saved. At this point, extraction and removal of the tooth are the only options. A tooth can also be removed to pave way for new teeth, when an outgrowth is occurring or for orthodontic treatment or when wisdom teeth need to be removed.
There are two main types of tooth removals: Simple extractions and surgical removal.
Simple removal involves removing visible teeth using local anaesthesia and loosening of the teeth. Meanwhile, surgical extraction involves removing teeth that are lodged within the gum.
Medical Causes of Teeth Extraction
Permanent teeth are always meant to survive for a lifetime. However, there are many reasons as to why you might want to have a tooth extracted or removed.
To Minimize Risk of Infection
If you are up for critical medical intervention that will severely impact your immune system, then any risk of infection is taken very seriously. A mild infection or exposed nerves are vulnerable to infection and may precipitate the removal of the teeth. This includes procedures such as chemotherapy, organ transplant, bone marrow treatment, etc.
Decay or Damage
This is the most common reason for removal of teeth. Most people take lots of sugary foods that remain lodged in the teeth and cause decay. Lots of people also ignore cleaning their teeth until it’s too late for them to be saved. Sometimes a tooth can get knocked and suffer significant trauma necessitating removal.
If tooth decay extends to the gum and pulp, then the dentist will most likely choose tooth extraction as the most appropriate intervention. The pulp is the innermost part of the tooth that has the nerves and blood vessels. Most often when this happens, the dentist tries to use the root canal procedure. If the infection is too severe, then the tooth has to go.
Dentist sometimes can pull off teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontics which is the process of properly aligning the remaining teeth. This is often the recommended decision when your teeth are too big or too many, and they crowd out the mouth. Sometimes a tooth can remain stuck within the gum because there is no space to break out and the dentist will resort to removal of the overlying tooth.
Gum disease causes the loosening of the tissues and bones around the tooth which makes the tooth loose. This makes chewing hard and kills sensation on the tooth. Depending on the extent of the disease, the dentist might recommend extraction. It is not always automatic that periodontal disease can lead to tooth extraction.
Heart procedures are very delicate and may be severely impacted by a tooth infection. A heart transplant, damaged valves and congenital heart defects are some of the heart conditions that have to be confessed.
Immune System Disorders
Any pre-existing immune system problems have to be brought up. This could range from genetic immune disorders to immune problems caused by a previous ailment.
If you've had organ transplants or organ failure, then you will have to bring that up. That’s because post extraction infection could further exacerbate existing organ problems in the body. The other significant disclosure involves liver diseases and a history of bacterial endocarditis. To be on the safe side always bring up issues to do with any current illness or medication that you could be taking.
The Process of Tooth Extraction
The tooth removal is usually a four-step process that lasts for as short as half an hour to 90 minutes.
Application of Anaesthesia
Before the tooth is removed, local anaesthesia is injected to make the tooth and the area around it numb. If it’s more than one tooth being removed or the damage is severe, then the dentist may resort to general anaesthesia. General anaesthesia prevents pain from spreading all over the body as it keeps you asleep during the entire procedure.
Once the anaesthesia kicks in, the dentist will then twist the tooth left and right to try and loosen it. If the tooth is too tight, the dentist might have to cut away bone tissue and gum to release it.
Using forceps the dentist will then grasp the tooth and gently rock it till the ligaments give way. Sometimes the tooth might have to be broken and pulled out in bits.
Most often the gaping tooth is filled with a blood clot. A gauze pad is the best means of stopping the bleeding. If the extraction involves significant cuts, the dentist will put a few self-dissolving stitches as a remedy. The bleeding usually stops within minutes of the removal once it’s covered with the gauze pad.
Once the blood clots, the socket will begin to heal. However, sometimes the blood clot can break exposing the bone socket. This excruciating condition is known as dry socket. The best remedy for dry sockets is a sedative dressing over the socket. Once a new blood clot forms, the socket will resume the process of healing naturally.
Healing and Recovery
Dental recovery usually takes a few days. There are several things to keep in mind as you recover.
Immediate Steps: Make sure you take the painkillers as recommended by the dentist. While still in the dentist chair, keep biting at the gauze pad till a clot firmly forms at the socket. Make sure you apply ice cubes on the extracted area to prevent swelling and also ensure you stick to light duties during the entire time.
For The Next 48 Hours: Avoid spitting forcefully or rinsing your mouth for the next 48 hours to avoid dislodging the clot. Rinse your mouth with a solution of 8 ounces of warm water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Do not drink from a straw or try sucking anything from a bottle or cup.
Dietary Choices: Avoid smoking as the socket heals and the gum recovers as this may inhibit healing. Make sure you eat soft foods and drinks such as applesauce, pudding, soup, and yoghurt. After 24 hours begin to introduce solid foods back into your diet. Continue to brush your teeth and tongue but avoid the extraction area till it fully heals.
Persistent and continued bleeding, infection, swelling and discharge are some of the risks that you could encounter after extraction. In the event that you experience any of this then get in touch with your dentist immediately.