Maintaining your natural teeth as long as possible is always the preferred course of action. However, there are situations in which a natural tooth or multiple teeth must be removed. The process is known as tooth extraction. Dental extractions are routine dental treatments that are performed for a wide range of reasons. Learn more about extractions, why extractions are recommended, and what to expect during and after the procedure.
When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?
Patients will have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. Infants and young children have milk teeth, which are the first set of teeth the body produces shortly after birth. When these teeth naturally fall out in childhood, they are replaced by permanent teeth. Permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime; however, tooth extraction may be necessary in some instances:
- Severe Decay: Nearly 90 percent of adults between 20 and 64 have experienced tooth decay, according to NIH. When decay reaches the center of the tooth, known as the pulp, a serious infection can develop. To prevent the infection from spreading, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist for a tooth extraction.
- Periodontal Disease: Periodontal disease refers to an infection of the gums, alveolar bone, periodontal ligaments, and other structures that surround the teeth. In its later stages, periodontal disease can cause teeth to loosen which may result in extraction.
- Tooth Impaction: A tooth is considered impacted when it cannot fully erupt from the gums. This condition is most common with wisdom teeth but can occur with any tooth. Extraction can prevent the impacted tooth from damaging other teeth, prevent overcrowding, and reduce the risk of infection.
- Serious Accident: When an accident occurs, such as a baseball to the mouth or a car accident, a tooth can become severely damaged or partially dislodged. Depending on the severity of the damage, a tooth extraction may be necessary.
- Overcrowding: Sometimes a tooth extraction is needed to prevent overcrowding in the mouth. This is common in cases where a patient is undergoing orthodontic treatment and there is not enough room for the teeth to shift and realign.
What Happens During Tooth Extraction?
Extraction procedure is fairly straightforward. A local anesthetic is generally administered directly before the procedure to numb the area surrounding the tooth to minimize discomfort. The effectiveness of treatment can vary depending on the technology offered by your provider.
The procedure involves loosening the tooth from the gum using an instrument known as an elevator. Once the tooth has been loosened, forceps are placed around the tooth and it’s pulled from its socket. Dental X-rays are usually taken before the procedure to obtain information about the roots and surrounding tissues.
While basic dental X-rays are effective, a lack of detail in these radiographic images poses the risk of damaging adjacent tissue. For this reason, some providers are moving toward a more minimally traumatic technique. The removal of teeth using the latest 3D Cone Beam Technology poses fewer risks to adjacent teeth, tissues, and oral structures. The technology also allows for a more comfortable and pain-free procedure.
Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CT) is a specialized form of X-ray technology that produces detailed images of the bone surrounding the teeth. These 3D images show the entire structure surrounding the tooth, including bone, soft tissue, and nerve pathways. This enables the periodontist to gain a much better understanding of how to proceed with the tooth extraction while causing minimal trauma to the surrounding area.
After tooth extraction, your periodontist will have you firmly bite down on a piece of gauze to create pressure that helps a blood clot form in the empty socket. Once the bleeding has slowed, you can remove the gauze. Follow all aftercare instructions provided by your periodontist to reduce the risk of dry sockets and encourage fast healing.
Reach Out to Vero Implants & Periodontics
Tooth extraction is often the best way to eliminate infection and recover your healthy smile when alternative treatments are not viable. To learn more about tooth extraction or to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Vero Beach FL, contact Vero Implants & Periodontics.