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What Is a Dental Tooth Extraction?

Tooth extraction is a dental procedure that involves the removal of a tooth from its socket in the jawbone, typically performed by an oral surgeon or dentist. Dental extraction may be necessary for various reasons, including tooth infection, severe decay, or crowding. In some cases, tooth extraction may also be necessary before getting braces, especially if there is a need for additional space for teeth movement.

When Is a Tooth Removal Necessary?

If an individual is experiencing severe pain, swelling, or an abscess that affects their daily activities, a tooth removal or emergency tooth extraction may be necessary. If an infected tooth is left untreated, it can even cause a blood infection, which may require hospital treatment. To avoid worsening dental problems, it is recommended to have a toothache checked by a dentist as soon as possible.

Although it is usually preferable to try and save the tooth, in certain situations, it may be better to remove it. Some reasons for emergency tooth extraction include when a tooth is beyond repair, to create space for orthodontic treatment, due to severe periodontal disease, a tooth fracture, a severe cavity, or wisdom tooth removal when needed.

How To Prepare For A Tooth Extraction

In preparation for a tooth removal, it is important to have a consultation with Dr. Chung to discuss the procedure and evaluate any factors that may impact it. A comprehensive dental examination will be performed, which may include taking dental X-rays and creating models of the teeth and mouth. In some cases, a special type of computed tomography (CT) scan may be needed to assess the health of the teeth and jaw bone accurately.

Based on the evaluation, a treatment plan will be created, taking into account all aspects of the procedure. If the surgery is invasive, a well-thought-out plan will be developed, including a step-by-step treatment guide and a follow-up appointment if necessary. It is essential to inform the dentist of any medical conditions and medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements. If a patient has heart conditions or orthopedic implants, antibiotics may be prescribed before surgery to prevent infection.

What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction

There are typically two types of tooth extractions. The first type is a simple extraction. During this procedure, the dentist will loosen the tooth and then remove it using forceps.

The second type is a surgical extraction, which is a more complex procedure. This type of extraction is typically necessary if a tooth has broken off at the gum line or has not fully emerged from the gums. The dentist may need to make a small incision in the gum tissue to remove the tooth or may need to remove some of the surrounding bone or even cut the tooth in half to extract it.

Your dentist will recommend the best type of extraction based on the condition of the tooth and the surrounding tissues. They will also provide instructions for post-operative care to promote healing and reduce discomfort.

Tooth Extraction Surgery Aftercare

For patients recovering from invasive cosmetic or surgical dental procedures, the following advice is applicable. After a tooth extraction, a blood clot will form in the socket, and there should be no complications once the clot has stabilized and matured. However, for more complex procedures, proper dental aftercare is crucial to support the body’s healing process following the trauma of an invasive medical or dental procedure.

Step One: Swelling control. Swelling causes inflammation and pain, which can interfere with healing. To reduce swelling, apply ice to the face near the surgical site. Alternate icing for 15 minutes with ten minute breaks between, and continue for two or three hours until the swelling is reduced.

Step Two: Bleeding control. Firmly apply gentle pressure to the surgical site using surgical gauze for at least two hours, changing the gauze frequently. Avoid rinsing the mouth or using a straw for 24 hours. If bleeding persists, place a moistened tea bag over the site and apply gentle, firm biting pressure to keep the bag in place. Do not smoke during this time.

Step Three: Pain and comfort control. Take prescribed medication as directed, avoid spicy and extremely hot or cold foods, and eat soft foods for a minimum of 24 hours.

Step Four: Oral hygiene. After 24 hours, begin rinsing the mouth with salt water and/or peroxide four times a day for one or two weeks to prevent infection. Brush gently around the surgical site, gradually increasing brushing vigor as comfort allows.

Before and After Photos

Meet Dr. Christian Chung, D.D.S

Dr. Christian Chung grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He moved to New York City and attended New York University where he received both his undergraduate degree and his degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. Upon graduation, he completed his residency at St. Lukes Roosevelt... Learn More »