As dentists, our main goal is to preserve your natural teeth and keep them healthy for as long as possible. There are times, however, when it is in your best interest (or your child's) to have a tooth extracted (removed). This could be the case for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you have a tooth that has been severely damaged by trauma or decay; or an impacted wisdom tooth that may cause trouble for you later on. Maybe your teenager will soon undergo orthodontic treatment and has insignificant space for his adult teeth, referred to as crowding. Or your younger child has a baby tooth that's stubbornly adhering, even though it's past time for it to go.
Whatever the reason, tooth extraction is more often than not a very routine procedure. How straightforward this minor surgery is will depend on where the tooth to be extracted is located in the mouth, and what its roots are like. For example, a front tooth with a single straight root is easier to remove than a molar with multiple roots. This is especially true when that molar is a wisdom tooth that is impacted, meaning it is below the surface surrounded by gum tissue and bone. Often, a wisdom tooth is blocked from fully erupting (growing in) by other teeth in its path.
Still, tooth extraction is nothing to be feared when done by an experienced hand. Keep in mind that a tooth is not rigidly fixed in its surrounding bone, though that's how some may picture it. In fact, it is attached to the bone via a network of fibers that form what's known as the periodontal ligament. By carefully manipulating the tooth, we can dislodge these fibers and free the tooth without much trouble.
As mentioned above, there can be a variety of reasons for extracting a tooth. We are always happy to discuss the pros and cons of any dental treatment with you, including extraction.
The first step in any extraction is a radiographic (x-ray) examination to assess the position of the tooth roots and the condition of the surrounding bone. This will allow any possible complications to be anticipated. We take a thorough medical and drug history to ensure that you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. We will also discuss the options for anesthesia. Tooth extraction is usually carried out with local anesthesia, which will numb the teeth to be removed, and the surrounding bone and gum tissues. Additional sedatives might also be used, including oral sedatives (taken in pill form), nitrous oxide (which is inhaled).
Immediately after your tooth is extracted, the socket will be covered with sterile gauze to apply gentle pressure for 10-20 minutes to control any bleeding. Small sutures (stitches) might also be used for this purpose. It's normal to experience some mild to moderate post-operative discomfort and/or swelling. Taking non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and/or aspirin the day of surgery should control most symptoms. We may also prescribe antibiotics for you to ensure infection-free healing. Using ice packs on the outside of your jaw, and eating softer foods until you feel more comfortable can also be helpful. Within a few days, all should be back to normal.
Wisdom Teeth – To Be Or Not To Be Wisdom teeth, which typically make their appearance between the ages of 17 and 25, can cause significant problems when there is not enough room for them to grow in properly. As a person ages, the effects of retained and impacted wisdom teeth can be more consequential. This article reviews the issues associated with wisdom teeth and whether or not they should be removed... Read Article
Simple Tooth Extraction? Removing teeth, while not a particularly pleasant experience, is a routine and uncomplicated procedure in the hands of an expert. It is important that all the potential risks, benefits and possible outcomes of tooth removal are reviewed with you beforehand, so you know what to expect... Read Article
Tooth Removal For Orthodontic Reasons When there are too many teeth for the size of the dental arches (upper and/or lower jaws), there may not be enough space to align them. A common solution is to create the necessary space by removing one tooth (premolar) on each side to allow the others to be aligned correctly... Read Article