There are many reasons why a dentist may recommend having a tooth removal or extraction. The reasons for most tooth removals are because the tooth decay has reached deep into the tooth, or infection has destroyed a large portion of the tooth or the surrounding bone or because there is not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth to come in.
If your teeth are impacted (partially erupted) dentists usually recommend removing them, as they are a source for infection. If impacted teeth are left and they become infected, the situation can rapidly become serious. If an impacted tooth tries to erupt, it can cause damage to the roots of a nearby tooth. Therefore it is important for a dentist to make the decision to remove impacted teeth for the dental health of the rest of your mouth and teeth.
The dentist will follow certain steps before removing a tooth. The dentist will review the medical and dental history that you provided at your first dental visit and ask if any of the information you gave has changed or if there is any new information that is necessary to know about.
X-rays will be taken that will show the length of the tooth, the shape of the tooth, and the position the tooth has with the surrounding bone. If the dentist decides that the degree of difficulty warrants it, you will be referred to an oral surgeon for the tooth removal.
When it is time for the tooth extraction, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area of the mouth where the tooth is located. An elevator tool will be used to loosen up the tooth and ready it for extraction. Dental forceps will then be used to pull the tooth out of your mouth. The dentist may then need to smooth and recontour the underlying bone. The dentist may then put a stitch in to close the area.
Your dentist will place dry sterile gauze in the area where the tooth was extracted. This gauze is to help control bleeding and should remain in place while clotting occurs. Typically you leave the gauze in place for 30 to 45 minutes.
Instructions your dentist will probably tell you:
- No smoking for 24 hours
- No vigorous mouth rinsing
- Do not clean the teeth on either side of the extraction site
- Avoid hot liquids for 24 hours
- Avoid using a straw to drink for 24 hours
- Pain or discomfort is expected and should subside after 3 days or may last as long as 2 weeks
- The day after the extraction rinse with warm water and salt and spit out
- If you notice bleeding, severe pain, swelling or fever call the dentist immediately
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