We look forward to working with you to restore your oral health and help you keep your teeth for a long time to come. However, there are some situations when it’s in your best interest to have a tooth removed. Tooth extraction is typically a very routine procedure. Keep in mind that a tooth is not rigidly fixed in the jaw bone. It’s attached to the bone by a network of fibers called the periodontal ligament. By carefully manipulating the tooth, these can be detached and the tooth can be extracted without too much trouble.
Reasons for Extracting a Tooth
There are several reasons why it may be best to extract a tooth. Here’s a look at some of them:
The Process of Extracting a Tooth
Your dentist will begin by taking an x-ray to assess the position of the tooth roots and the condition of the bone surrounding the tooth. Your dental team will also take a thorough drug and medical history to ensure you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure, and will discuss your options for anesthesia.
Many times, you only need a local anesthetic (a shot) to numb the tooth to be removed and the surrounding bone and gum tissue. Additional sedatives may also be used, including oral sedatives, nitrous oxide, and/or conscious sedation, which is administered intravenously. IV sedation is usually required for multiple or more complicated tooth extractions. The sedation medication will keep you comfortable during the procedure.
As your tooth is being removed, your dentist will take steps to ensure the bone around the tooth isn’t damaged. Your dentist may perform a bone graft to preserve the bone volume. This is particularly important if the space left by the tooth extraction will be filled with a dental implant later.
What to Expect After Tooth Extraction
Once the tooth has been removed, a member of your dental team will cover the empty socket with sterile gauze and apply gentle pressure for about 10 to 20 minutes to control any bleeding. The doctor may also use small sutures (stitches). Your doctor will advise you whether you should take an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen to alleviate any mild discomfort you may feel after the extraction. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic. You can apply ice packs on the outside of your jaw and eat softer food until the area has healed. Within a few days, your mouth should feel normal again.
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