Disease, trauma, and crowding are the primary reasons for tooth extraction. A badly decayed tooth may not have enough structure left to place a filling or even put on a crown. A bridge or dental implant may be a better solution, but your tooth will be to be extracted first.
A badly broken tooth may be splintered beyond repair. People who have small jaws and large teeth may have so much crowding that it affects tooth development, makes oral hygiene nearly impossible or changes the bite. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove a tooth to apply braces.
How is a tooth extracted?
Local anesthesia is the first step to extracting a single tooth. If you need multiple or all teeth extracted, you’ll need a general anesthetic. These procedures are usually done in an outpatient surgery center or a hospital.
Once your tooth is numb, one of our dentists may need to cut the gum to access the tooth root. They’ll use a special tool called an elevator to loosen the tooth from its socket.
Finally, your dentist will grasp the tooth with a pair of forceps and levers it out of the socket. If necessary, the incision is closed with sutures.
What should I do after a tooth extraction?
The more important aspects of aftercare are preventing infection, managing swelling and discomfort and protecting the surgical area. Rinsing your mouth with diluted mouthwash or lukewarm salty water helps keep debris cleaning out and decreases bacteria.
You can floss and brush your remaining teeth, but you should about the surgical area. A little swelling is normal and can usually be managed with an ice bag. Make sure you protect your skin with a towel or washcloth.
You can manage any discomfort with over-the-counter medications. You should avoid straws, toothpicks, and smoking until the site is completely healed. It may also be easier to eat soft food for the first few days after the extraction.