Extracting teeth is an art form. Yes, it definitely has a component to it that can involve a lot of pressure, which is the most uneasy part of the treatment. But knowing how the tooth is being removed, what will be replacing it, and what will work best, is really why you came to us in the first place. You will be in good hands and we will make you as comfortable as possible during the process.
There can be many reasons why teeth need to be removed. A common one is because of tooth decay rendering the tooth non-restorable. Sometimes with baby teeth, we need to remove them if they are preventing the eruption of permanent teeth or if there are large cavities. Wisdom teeth often need to be removed because of issues they may cause in the future. We are always trying to prevent things such as resorbed roots, sinus pain, headaches and large infections.
As mentioned above, there can be a variety of reasons for extracting a tooth. Be sure to ask questions about the pros and cons of any dental treatment, including extraction.
The first step in any extraction is a radiographic (x-ray) examination to assess the position of the tooth roots and the condition of the surrounding bone. This will allow any possible complications to be anticipated. A thorough medical and drug history is taken, to ensure that you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure, and your options for anesthesia will be discussed.
Tooth extraction is usually carried out with local anesthesia, which will numb the teeth to be removed, and the surrounding bone and gum tissues. Additional sedatives might also be used, including oral sedatives (taken in pill form), nitrous oxide (which is inhaled) and/or conscious sedation, which is given intravenously (into a vein).
The latter is usually required for more complicated (or multiple) tooth extractions. By the time the sedation medication has worn off, you will not even be aware that the surgery was done.
As your tooth is being removed, steps are taken to ensure the bone that surrounds it is not damaged. Sometimes, in the process of removing a tooth, a small amount of lab-processed bone-grafting material is placed into the socket to help preserve the bone volume. This is particularly important when the extraction is going to be followed at some point by the placement of a dental implant, which needs to fuse to existing bone, or orthodontics, which gently moves teeth through bone.
Immediately after your tooth is extracted, the socket will be covered with sterile gauze and gentle pressure will be applied for 10-20 minutes to control any bleeding. Small sutures (stitches) might also be used for this purpose. It is normal to experience some mild to moderate post-operative discomfort and/or swelling. Taking non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and/or aspirin the day of surgery should control most symptoms. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to ensure infection-free healing. Using ice packs on the outside of your jaw, and eating softer foods until you feel more comfortable can also be helpful. Within a few days, all should be back to normal.