When something is difficult, the saying goes, “it’s like pulling teeth.” However, with the right dental care, tooth extractions are often significantly less difficult than most of the things this saying is used for. We can perform tooth extractions quickly and with minimal discomfort to treat a host of dental conditions.
Why Might Someone Need an Extraction?
Patients suffering from broken, cracked, and/or excessively decayed or damaged teeth will benefit from this often simple and straightforward procedure. Here are some of the situations in which extractions may be needed:
- When the wisdom teeth, or third molars, are impacted (can’t come through the gums), or emerge as non-functional and/or misaligned. (Only 10% of people are able to keep their wisdom teeth.)
- When a candidate for dentures only has a few worn or compromised remaining teeth on an arch, and extractions would allow a full denture to be placed.
- When younger children have deciduous (baby) teeth that block the permanent teeth from erupting.
- When orthodontic patients have overcrowding, requiring more space along the jaw line to properly align the teeth.
- When a tooth is extensively decayed, and can’t be saved with a root canal.
- When advanced gum disease has destroyed the bone and connective tissue that support a tooth.
What is the Extraction Process Like?
We always begin with a thorough examination, including X-rays, before we determine a course of action. That way, we can determine whether an extraction is necessary, or whether it might be possible to save the tooth.
We know that you may feel apprehensive, so we dedicate ourselves to answering all of your questions before we proceed. Plan to discuss with us your medical history, any past extractions and associated problems with excessive bleeding, and any medications you take. In more complicated cases, such as when a tooth is impacted (stuck under the gum line, unable to emerge) or is broken off at the gumline, we may refer you to an oral surgeon. Under certain conditions, you may need to take an antibiotic on the day of your extraction, to minimize the risk of infection; we’ll give you the prescription at this preparatory appointment.
The day of your extraction, your dentist will anesthetize the area with a shot of medication like Novocain. Next, your dentist will carefully rock the tooth back and forth to expand the socket and loosen the ligaments. Special instruments are used to detach the tooth from the jawbone and then to remove it. You will feel pressure, but should not feel pain or significant discomfort, because of the local anesthesia.
To protect the blood clot that will form in the empty tooth socket, we advise patients to avoid rinsing, spitting, sucking through straws, hot foods, cigarettes or alcohol during the first 24 hours. It’s important not to dislodge this blood clot, because significant amounts of bleeding can occur. If alveolar osteitis, dry socket, occurs, we will recommend an immediate course of action. You should also adhere to a liquid diet during the first day and use clean gauze, or even tea bags, to pack the wound. Remember, a small amount of bleeding is normal and ice and acetaminophen will help with the swelling and discomfort.
After 24 hours, you’ll begin a regimen of gentle, salt water rinses and resume your normal oral hygiene routine, taking care to avoid the empty socket and the adjacent teeth. Within two weeks, you can expect to feel significantly better.
We partner with you before, during, and after the dental procedures we recommend. If you have an extraction scheduled, you can feel confident that we will fully explain what to expect and will provide thorough and compassionate care. Finally, many patients who have extractions performed benefit from dental implants paired with crowns to rebuild the tooth, so ask us about this prosthetic option.
Dentist in Virginia Beach
If you need an extraction in Virginia Beach, or you need other general, restorative, or cosmetic dental care, then you’ll be interested in visiting Dr. Mary Lewis. She’s a highly-rated dentist in Virginia Beach, and performs many dental procedures, including extractions, at high quality. She has extra training in placing dental implants, making her among the top dentists in Virginia Beach. To book your complementary consultation with Dr. Lewis, please call our office.