When Is a Tooth Extraction Necessary?

man sitting at a desk holding his jaw with bad tooth pain

Tooth extraction is never a fun procedure, but sometimes it has to be done. Here, we’ll explain when a tooth extraction is necessary, what the procedure is like, and what to do after it’s done.

When Is a Tooth Extraction Necessary?

One of the most common reasons for a tooth extraction is that the tooth is very badly damaged. This can either be by trauma (such as a sports accident where you get an elbow to the face) or decay (which happens when a cavity has progressed to an extreme degree) that has rendered the tooth unable to be saved. If an infection from the decay has reached to the pulp, the center of the tooth, then you might be able to save the tooth with a root canal but if it is too severe, the tooth will need to be pulled. Tooth extraction could also be necessary if you suffer from periodontal disease, which is an infection of the bones and tissue that surround teeth, and the disease has progressed to the point where the teeth are becoming loose because the gums can no longer support the teeth. Another reason why a tooth extraction might be necessary is that your mouth is too crowded, meaning that a tooth must be pulled in order for the rest of the teeth to properly align in the mouth or to allow for a tooth to erupt through the gums.

What Is the Tooth Extraction Procedure Like?

Before the tooth is extracted, your dentist or oral surgeon will give you a local anesthetic in order to numb the area where the tooth is going to be removed so that you won’t feel any pain during the extraction. If the tooth is impacted, your dentist might have to cut away the gum and bone tissue that is covering the tooth so they can loosen the tooth from the jaw bone and ligaments that are holding the tooth in place. If a tooth is particularly difficult to extract, it may need to be removed in pieces. After the tooth has been pulled, a blood clot forms in the socket so your dentist will pack gauze into the socket and ask you to bite down so the bleeding stops. Occasionally, your dentist will place a couple self-dissolving stitches to close the gums.

What Should You Expect After a Tooth Extraction?

There are a number of things that you can do to minimize your discomfort, stave off infection, and recover quickly from a tooth extraction. Be sure to take the painkillers that are prescribed in order to make yourself more comfortable and apply ice to the affected area to reduce swelling. Do not drink from a straw for the first twenty-four hours after the extraction and do not smoke. You should also eat soft foods the day after the extraction and gradually introduce solid foods into your diet as your mouth heals. You should also rinse your mouth out with salt water after 24 hours and be sure to lie down with your head propped up with pillows. Additionally, brush and floss your teeth while you’re healing so as to prevent any infection.

Contact Us. We Can Help!

Contact us if you have any additional questions about the tooth extraction process. If you think you may need a tooth extraction, give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

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Reen Chung, DDS

Reen Chung, DDS