Hampstead Tooth Extraction Dentist
Tooth extraction can be an uncomfortable subject for many people, presenting a scary image of pain and swelling. However, it’s important to remember tooth extraction is a fairly routine dental procedure and your dentist will take steps to minimize any discomfort you might experience.
The Whys and Hows of Tooth Extraction
There are a number of reasons your dentist might recommend a tooth extraction. While many kinds of tooth damage can be repaired with a filling, crown, root canal, or other procedure, sometimes the best thing to do is remove the affected tooth entirely. Causes for this may include:
- A broken or shattered tooth that cannot be repaired with a crown or dental bond.
- Decay which has reached too deep into the tooth for a root canal to be effective.
- Severe or advanced infection of the tooth and surrounding gum.
- Overcrowding or misalignment, often from too many teeth in the mouth.
- Baby teeth which are blocking permanent teeth from coming in.
- Wisdom teeth, which generally emerge in the late teens/early 20s and may cause discomfort, misalignment, or other problems.
What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?
Before extraction, your dentist will carefully examine the tooth to be removed, likely taking some x rays to help with the process. Once they’ve assessed the situation, they’ll administer an appropriate anesthetic to help with the pain and discomfort and then perform the extraction procedure. Generally speaking, there are two types of extraction process your dentist might use. A simple extraction is performed on a tooth which has emerged fully from the gum. Your dentist will numb the tooth and gum and then remove the tooth with forceps and a dental tool called an elevator. This is a relatively simple and straightforward procedure under most circumstances. More complicated is a surgical extraction, which is used on teeth that have yet to come into the mouth and remain below the gum line. A small incision is made in the gum to allow the underlying tooth to be removed. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or cut the tooth in half to facilitate easier removal. This is a more involved procedure and may increase the patient’s needed recovery time.
What Happens Afterward?
Extractions require a fair amount of care after the procedure, and your dentist will walk you through what you should do. In general, the most important thing is to keep the extraction site clean. Your dentist may give you dental gauze to fill the site, which you should keep in place for at least 30 to 45 minutes after the procedure. For the first 24 hours following a tooth extraction, you should avoid smoking, rinsing your mouth vigorously, or cleaning the teeth near the extraction site. There will likely be some pain and discomfort as well, and your dentist may recommend or prescribe a painkiller and may additionally suggest an ice pack to help with swelling.
Tooth extractions may sound scary, but hopefully, we’ve helped you understand the role they play in your oral health and what you can expect during and after the procedure. Tooth extractions are routine, safe, and can make room for better things to come.