Tooth extraction is the removal of adult teeth to address problems such as cavities, infection, or crowding. The goal of a dentist or oral surgeon is to remove the entire tooth, including the root, from the socket in the gum. This procedure is usually done under local or general anesthesia in your dentist’s office or clinic and is usually painless and well tolerated.
This article will give you an idea of how tooth extractions work, the risks, and recovery afterward.
Before surgery, you will need a dental evaluation and imaging to make sure extraction is the best option. Several dental problems require tooth extraction:
- Tooth infection (“abscess” or collection of secretions)
- overcrowded or crooked teeth
- Gum disease that seriously affects the stability of teeth
- Tooth damage due to impact, accident or fall
Once your dentist determines that you need a tooth extraction, they will need to check your overall health. Let them know what medicines you are taking, your medical history, and your current health. Because they increase the risk of infection, tell them if you have or have had any of the following conditions:
- liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatitis C, or other liver problems
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and other heart problems
- weakened immune system or autoimmune disease
- Recent surgery, especially heart surgery or involving metal joint implants
For many cavities, abscesses, and other problems, a simple tooth extraction is sufficient. They can be performed by a dentist. Here’s a quick breakdown of the process:
- Numbness: A local anesthetic is used to numb the area around the affected tooth, especially the gums and surrounding bones. This will prevent pain and discomfort during the procedure and will usually go away within a few hours.
- Loosening: The dentist shakes and begins to loosen the target tooth using a tool called a “lifter.”You may feel stressed when this happens, but you should not feel pain
- Tooth extraction: Once the tooth is loose enough, the dentist will use forceps to pull the tooth structure out. Freshly empty sockets bleed at first, but quickly clot.
- Final Steps: Clean the empty sockets and reshape the jaw as needed. In some cases, the gums may need stitches, and you’ll need gauze to deal with any bleeding.
More complicated cases require oral surgery. Surgery may be necessary for tooth impaction (when they grow at the wrong angle or do not erupt from the gums) or when wisdom teeth need to be extracted. This work involves:
- Antibiotic medication: Patients usually take antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection.
- General anesthesia: In contrast to simple tooth extractions, surgical tooth extractions are usually performed while you are under general anesthesia and sedation (going “sleep”). Your vital signs will be carefully monitored while you are under anesthesia.
- Multiple extractions: If multiple extractions are required, it is done under general anesthesia using a method similar to that described above. The specific treatment necessary depends greatly on the size and extent of the dental problem.
- Complex Removal: In some cases, it may be necessary to remove or reshape part of the surrounding bone. Dentists use incisions in the gums to access these areas. Additionally, they may need to “slice” or divide the tooth into sections and extract them in stages.
wisdom tooth extraction
Wisdom teeth are a set of extra adult teeth that appear behind your posterior upper and lower molars. Usually occurring in young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, they cause crowding and impaction of teeth. Removing these is by far the most common reason for surgical extractions.
Risk of tooth extraction
Complications of tooth extraction are rare. However, there are many risks associated with this procedure. These include:
- On-site infection
- nerve damage
- damage to other teeth, crowns, or fillings
- Bruising, swelling and/or pain on site
- Pain that persists after surgery
- reaction to other medications taken after anesthesia or surgery
- long-term healing of the area
- dry socket
What is a dry socket?
In most cases, after a tooth extraction, blood pools and clots, allowing the remaining gums and bone to heal. Dry socket is when the clot falls out of the socket before healing is complete (within a few days after surgery). This condition exposes nerves and bones, causing pain and bad breath.
Recovery after tooth extraction is gradual and largely depends on individual circumstances. All told, sockets take one to two weeks to heal, but sometimes longer—up to a month or more—for the surrounding bone to regenerate and fully recover. This process can be divided into three stages:
- Inflammation: After a tooth is extracted, the blood in the socket can clot. Over the next week, calcification or scarring develops in the affected area as the tissue gradually regenerates and replaces the clot. This can cause an inflammatory response in the area.
- Proliferation: Beginning one to two weeks after surgery, immature bone cells and other types of cells accumulate in the area. Over time, tissue, blood vessels, nerves and bone material grow back.
- Maturation: During the final stage of healing, bone cells mature and tissues and other structures complete their development. Some bone loss is expected, which is monitored by the dentist.
care after tooth extraction
The most important thing after a tooth extraction is to do everything you can to make sure everything heals properly. The most critical and often uncomfortable period of recovery is the first few days. You and your dentist need to be vigilant throughout your recovery. In the early days, you should keep the following in mind:
- Use prescribed pain relievers or over-the-counter medicines.
- To control pain, apply ice to the face near the affected area for 10 minutes as needed.
- After 24 hours, rinse mouth with salt water (1 teaspoon) [tsp] 8 ounces salt [oz] warm water) several times a day.
- Do not brush or floss for the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Change gauze pads before they become saturated with blood.
What can you do to ensure a complete and complete recovery? Here is a breakdown:
- Avoid touching the affected area with your tongue.
- Take a break and try to relax.
- Do not smoke, vape, or drink alcohol during recovery.
- During early recovery, choose soft, easy-to-eat foods like gelatin or thin soups.
- Gradually reintroduce harder-to-chew foods.
- Keep your head up as you lie down.
- Do not use a straw or suck with your mouth.
- Be careful and follow your dentist’s orders when brushing and flossing.
- Be careful with the stitches; some will dissolve on their own, while the dentist will need to remove others.
Bisphosphonates and Bone Recovery
Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs that prevent bone resorption (the breakdown of bone cells). They are used to treat conditions such as osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, and bone cancer. Applied intravenously or topically, they are also used in cases of tooth extractions that result in severe bone loss.
When to call the dentist
It is important for you to monitor your dental health throughout your recovery and will require several follow-up appointments. There are several signs to call your dentist or surgeon:
- Fever, chills, or other signs of infection
- White or yellow discharge and severe swelling at the site
- Severe pain or heavy bleeding within a few hours of surgery
- hard to swallow
- Cough, chest pain, or difficulty breathing
- hives and/or rash
Know when to go to the dentist or emergency room for a dental emergency
Tooth extraction is the clinical removal of one or more teeth. It is used to treat a range of problems such as tooth crowding, impaction, tooth infection, loose teeth from gum disease or damage from trauma.
There are two types: simple extractions are performed under local anesthesia, while surgical extractions—which usually involve remodeling of surrounding bone—are more invasive and are performed under general anesthesia.
Subsequent care requires managing symptoms, avoiding smoking and drinking, eating soft foods, and making sure there are no complications.
There is no doubt that a tooth extraction can greatly help your smile. As with all procedures of this type, the work is good for dental health and beauty. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, falling gums, or other problems, it’s imperative that you act quickly and get the help you need. The sooner the dentist handles the case, the better off you will be.
Frequently Asked Questions
How painful is tooth extraction?
With enough local or general anesthesia, you won’t feel pain during the procedure. However, there is always tension when the drug is injected, and some discomfort and tenderness as you recover. Let your dentist or surgeon know if you have excessive pain.
Are tooth extractions covered by insurance?
In most cases, dental insurance will cover all or part of the cost of a tooth extraction. A lot depends on your plan. Discuss what’s covered with your dentist or oral surgeon’s support staff; they can also help figure out other ways to reduce costs or make payments more manageable.
What should I eat after a tooth extraction?
As your mouth heals, you need to be very careful about what and how you eat. Here’s a quick breakdown to keep in mind:
- Start with a liquid-based diet: mix soup, yogurt, and pudding
- drink plenty of water and avoid hot drinks or alcohol
- Gradually reintroduce solid foods as you recover and feel comfortable
- Avoid using the affected tooth when chewing
- don’t use a straw
What is the average cost of wisdom tooth extraction?
How much you pay for a tooth extraction depends on the scope of the work required and your insurance coverage. Generally speaking, a dental plan will cover all or part of the cost. Without insurance, the average cost of a simple extraction is $150 to $300 per tooth. For surgical extractions, this would rise to the $225 to $2,300 range.