A tooth extraction, also known as exodontia, is one of the most common procedures performed at a dentist's office. The procedure involves removing or pulling a tooth. An extraction may be necessary if there is disease, trauma or overcrowding.
Causes for Tooth Extraction
Tooth extractions may be performed for the following reasons and/or to remove the following conditions:
- Wisdom teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Broken teeth
- Loose teeth
- In preparation for braces
Tooth Extraction Procedure
After the dentist has decided that a tooth extraction is necessary, an X-ray will be used to further evaluate the tooth. The extraction procedure may be performed under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort, or general anesthesia if more than one tooth is removed. There are two types of dental extractions:
This is an extraction of a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. In a simple extraction, forceps are used to remove the tooth.
A surgical extraction is performed on teeth that have broken at the gum line or have not descended into the mouth, such as wisdom teeth. It is a more complex extraction procedure that may be performed by an oral surgeon. This procedure may require general anesthesia.
After the extraction, stitches may be necessary; alternatively, a bridge, implant or a denture will be used to replace one or more teeth.
Recovery from a Tooth Extraction
After the extraction, patients may experience a certain amount of pain. The pain may be relieved by:
- Applying ice to the external area if swelling occurs
- Rinsing with warm salt water
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication
Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight infection. Patients are also advised to avoid certain foods and hot liquids for 24 hours after the procedure. A follow-up appointment may be necessary to remove stitches.
Most patients recover completely from a tooth extraction within one to two weeks.
Complications of Tooth Extraction
The dental extraction procedure is safe for most patients with minimal to no complications. While most complications are rare, they may include:
- Accidental damage to surrounding teeth
- Fractured jaw
- Soreness in the jaw
- Dry socket or exposure of bone in the tooth socket
Patients may also experience side effects from local and general anesthesia. The dentist or surgeon will discuss any potential side effects before the procedure.