While the prospect of tooth extractions can be scary, the actual procedure itself is not as bad as you might think. Advances in dental techniques and an increase in available anesthesia options will make your extraction more comfortable, and we can provide medication to help you with the soreness that can follow.
Why Do I Need an Extraction?
We would prefer to save your tooth whenever possible, but sometimes it becomes inevitable that a tooth needs to be removed to prevent damage to your gum tissue or your other teeth.
These are some of the most common reasons we need to pull teeth:
- Trauma or decay has caused the nerve of the tooth to die. If the tooth is not removed, it could cause infection and damage to the other teeth.
- The jaw is too small for the size of the teeth and crowding is a significant problem.
- Serious gum disease has caused the tooth to become loose.
- A tooth is fractured to the point where it cannot be repaired.
- A root canal has failed.
- Teeth are impacted (partially or completely covered by the gums) and posing an infection risk.
If an extraction looks like a possibility, we will discuss the situation with you to make sure you understand why we are recommending that the tooth or teeth come out.
Types of Extractions
Extractions fall into two categories, simple and surgical. Most extractions are simple in nature and only require that the tooth be lifted with an instrument called an elevator and then gently removed using forceps (after your gums have been sufficiently numbed, of course).
In some cases, however, the process is more complex. When a tooth is impacted, a surgical extraction becomes necessary. This involves opening the gum and sometimes breaking the tooth in order to remove it. If you need a surgical extraction, you should plan to take a few days off following your extraction to allow time for rest and healing.
Lomita-Torrance dentist Dr. Bobby Aminpour is an oral surgery specialist and performs most of our surgical extractions.
Recovering After Your Extraction
Allowing adequate time to rest and heal following your extraction will help to ensure a better outcome free from complications. For simple extractions, you can plan on a 24 to 48 hour recovery time. Surgical extractions may require 72 hours or more depending on the procedure.
We may prescribe medication to help relieve your discomfort and reduce swelling. Stocking your refrigerator and pantry with soft foods will make it easier for you to relax. Pudding, yogurt, ice cream, smoothies, applesauce, and cottage cheese are all easy to eat following an extraction. Don’t drink through a straw, however, the suction can dislodge the clot that is forming at the extraction site, causing bleeding and delaying the healing process.
We will give you specific instructions for caring for the extraction sites. If you have any concerns following your extraction or questions about the healing process, don’t hesitate to call our office.