Even though every attempt is made to keep all permanent teeth intact, there can be situations when a tooth has to be extracted. Getting a tooth extracted is not something that any patient should fear. This is actually one of the most common dental procedures. At Rayburn Family Dentistry in Brookeland, TX, we always work to make sure our patients are as comfortable with tooth extraction as possible.
Reasons a Tooth May Have to Be Pulled
Permanent or adult teeth are technically supposed to last throughout your life, but many things can bring about the need to have one of these teeth extracted. Some of the most common reasons for tooth extractions include:
- The tooth is severely damaged due to decay
- The tooth is damaged beyond repair due to trauma
- The tooth is causing crowding problems in your smile or bite
- The tooth is causing a risk of infection because of decay or because of your own compromised immune system
- The tooth is severely loose due to gum disease or bone loss
Dentists can sometimes remove permanent teeth because of aesthetic reasons as well. For example, some teeth may grow in the gum line in an awkward place and a smile actually performs and looks better without the particular tooth in place.
The Tooth Extraction Process Explained
The steps to dental extraction can vary depending on the situation. However, there are typically four steps involved in general tooth extraction.
- The dentist will examine the tooth using x-rays and visual examinations to determine proper removal methods
- An injection of local anesthetic is pushed into the area around the tooth to cause complete numbness
- The dentist will use a small tool to grasp the tooth firmly and then slowly sway it to cause it to break free from the jaw bone
- Once the tooth is fully removed, the dentist will pack the area with gauze and instruct you to hold pressure
Some larger extraction sites will require the dentist to install a few self-dissolving stitches over the opening. This is especially common if you have more than one tooth extracted in one area or have one of the primary molars removed. Your dentist will let you know if they do use stitches to close the gum tissue over the extraction site so you know what to expect through the healing process.
Sedation Dentistry for Tooth Extractions
At Rayburn General Dentistry, we also offer sedation dentistry. Therefore, some patients do opt for either oral or IV sedation or nitrous oxide prior to the procedure. This form of sedation is meant to help the patient overcome anxiety about the procedure so they can get the care they need without fear. For younger patients, patients with disabilities, or individuals with extreme dental phobia, IV sedation can be extremely beneficial before dental extractions.
How to Properly Care for the Extraction Site
The open place in your gums that is remaining after an extraction does usually develop a blood clot that stops the bleeding and encourages the opening to heal. You should see this clot form soon after the appointment. Before that point, it is a good idea to hold pressure on the site with a piece of rolled-up sterile gauze to stop the bleeding.
If a clot does not form in the opening, you can develop a condition known as dry socket. This can be especially painful and may require further treatment from the dentist. Make sure you notify the dentist if:
- The site does not stop bleeding within a few hours
- You experience extreme pain after you get home from the appointment
- You see any severe swelling, develop a fever, or have other signs of infection
It is always best to be gentle on the extraction site. Avoid using alcohol-based mouthwash, and instead, gently rinse your mouth with lukewarm water. Avoid chewing foods in the area if at all possible, and watch out for food particles that can get trapped in the opening.
Schedule an Appointment for Tooth Extraction in Brookeland, TX
Knowing you have a tooth that has to be pulled can be a bit unnerving, but it doesn’t have to be. Make sure you do not prolong getting a tooth pulled if you believe it needs to be extracted because a bad tooth can leave you prone to infections, and it could put your other teeth at risk. Reach out to our friendly staff at Rayburn Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment with the dentist in Brookeland, TX.