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What is an Extraction
An extraction is the complete removal of a tooth from its place within the upper or lower jawbone. We perform extractions on both baby teeth and permanent teeth, as needed. Extractions can be simple or surgical.
These two categories describe how the dentist removes the tooth. In a simple extraction, the dentist is able to extract the tooth in one piece with simple pulling and pushing forces. In some cases, a complex root system or lack of tooth structure in a broken down tooth requires a surgical removal. Sometimes, we remove the tooth by separating it into individual roots and removing them one at a time. In other cases, we surgically remove surrounding gum and/or bone tissue in order to obtain access to the tooth. For example, wisdom teeth removals are most often surgical extractions.
Why are Extractions Necessary?
Extractions are necessary to prevent the spread of disease from an infected tooth that we cannot repair or save. Because dental infections carry the risk of spreading into vital areas like the airway, bloodstream and brain, extractions can literally save your life. As dentists, we always prioritize saving every tooth that you possibly can. However, occasionally, there is no treatment that will save the tooth and prevent infection. We call this a hopeless prognosis. When a tooth has a hopeless prognosis, extraction is the only treatment option.
Sometimes we also recommend extractions for teeth with a poor prognosis. This means that technically, they could be saved with dental treatment, but the likelihood of their long-term success is very low. Rather than investing in treatment that will probably fail, we encourage patients to take the safest route available by removing the tooth. They always have the option to replace it in the future with a dental implant.
What does the Extraction Process Involve?
Because extractions may cause some anxiety or fear, we offer sedation options at Bixby Family Dentistry. Sedation is not a requirement for removing a tooth. If you opt for sedation, you will not remember much of your extraction. If you choose to remain awake, here is what you will likely experience.
We administer local anesthetic so that the area surrounding the extraction site is numb. You should feel no pain during the procedure. Local anesthetic removes the sensation of pain, temperatures, and light touch. It does not, however, remove the sensation of pressure, so you will likely feel pushing or pulling forces as the dentist works. During a simple extraction, that is the extent of what you will feel.
If it is a surgical extraction, you may also feel some vibration as the dentist separates roots or removes surrounding bone. Again, you should feel no pain!
Some extraction sites require closure with stitches, but the majority do not. Because good care of the extraction site after the procedure is essential to the healing process, your dentist will give you strict and detailed post-operative instructions.
What Should I Expect After an Extraction?
You should expect some pain after a tooth extraction. Most post-operative pain from an extraction is easily manageable with medications and rest. Most people experience tenderness at the extraction site for one to two weeks following the procedure.
By closely following all of your doctor’s post-operative instructions, you can reduce the risk of experiencing any complications after your extraction. The pain should slowly decrease with each day. If you experience any increasing pain or swelling, come back to see us as soon as possible.