You’re enjoying a nice spring day when you suddenly find yourself dealing with a dental emergency. Wisely, you reach out to your local dentist to explain what has happened and to schedule an emergency visit. While it’s the professional’s first priority to make sure you’re relieved of your pain and that your tooth’s health is restored, there are some situations where an extraction is the only option. Here’s what you need to know about the process.
This May Make a Tooth Unsalvageable
The following situations may result in a tooth having to be extracted:
- A severe break from blunt force – Sudden impact to the face or using the teeth improperly to open packages or to eat ice, can result in a severe break. If too much of the tooth is damaged, it may not be possible to restore it.
- Excessive damage from bacteria growth – If bacteria accumulation isn’t addressed, over time, it can lead to the decay of the tooth from the enamel down to the pulp. If the damage isn’t stopped soon enough, then the only option may be to extract the tooth.
- An impacted tooth – A wisdom tooth that has become impacted can also cause significant discomfort. Before it can trigger the surrounding teeth to shift and leave you susceptible to a gum infection, it will need to be removed.
How the Extraction Process Works
A simple extraction procedure involves local anesthesia being administered. Then, the tooth is dislodged from the periodontal ligament and loosened using a tool called an elevator.
The removal of an impacted tooth, though, involves an increased level of difficulty. It requires the dentist to first make a small incision. After the tooth is removed, the socket is stitched, and a gauze is placed over the treatment area to expedite the forming of a blood clot and to start the healing process.
Caring for the Treatment Site
Whether an extraction is simple or more complex, careful steps should be taken when it’s done to ensure the proper healing takes place. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Take ibuprofen for pain relief for up to three days after the procedure is completed.
- Avoid tobacco usage, as the toxins can cause the blood clot to fail, which could lead to a painful infection.
- Eat soft and cool foods like apple sauce or yogurt, and try to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the extraction occurred.
- While smoothies are also an excellent way to take in the vital nutrients your body needs, you should avoid using a straw, as it too could cause the blood clot to dislodge.
Although having a tooth extracted is one of the last things you want to do, it’s comforting to know that if it needs to be done, your dentist can provide the care you need so that your oral health can be restored.
About the Author
Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury has been practicing dentistry for over 40 years. Still, the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas graduate approaches every day like its his first, with a thirst to help each patient enjoy the best in dental care. Dr. Stansbury treats dental emergencies and performs tooth extractions at Stansbury Dental, and he can be reached for more information through his website.