A tooth extraction is the complete removal of a tooth from your mouth. While a tooth extraction certainly isn’t ideal, we do everything possible to ensure that you’re comfortable. First, let’s start with the most common reasons you might need a tooth extraction.
Reasons You Might Need a Tooth Extraction
It used to be the assumption that as we got older, we’d lose our natural teeth. The good news is that people today are keeping their teeth longer than ever before. In fact, 75% of Americans over the age of 65 still have some or all of their natural teeth. However, sometimes tooth extraction can’t be avoided. While there are many things your dentist can do to save a tooth that’s in trouble, we’re going to list some common reasons a tooth may need to be pulled.
- Trauma Or Decay : When trauma or decay damages a tooth, your dentist will attempt to fix it, usually with a filling or crown. Fillings help repair damaged teeth and return them to their normal function. They also help to prevent further decay. Crowns are used when the structure of the tooth is compromised, and they completely cover the tooth from the gum line to the tooth’s surface. However, a tooth can have damage that’s beyond repair that makes tooth extraction a necessity.
- Crowded Teeth : A tooth may need to be pulled to allow for the proper alignment of the other teeth. This is commonly done in patients getting braces or other orthodontic treatments. In some cases, proper alignment may be impossible if the teeth are too big for the mouth. Removing a tooth can make much-needed space so that the other teeth can move into line. Sometimes a tooth won’t be able to come in through the gum because there’s simply not enough room in the mouth for it. Your dentist may recommend tooth extraction in that case.
- Tooth Infection : When tooth decay or tooth damage spreads into the tooth’s pulp — the sensitive center of the tooth that holds nerves and blood vessels — bacteria can get into the pulp and cause infection. A crack that doesn’t go all the way through a tooth can often be fixed without a problem. However, some cracks don’t exhibit symptoms, so you have no idea that they’re there. They progress over time until the tooth is completely divided. Your dentist could recommend an extraction when extensive cracking damages the structural integrity of the tooth material.
- Compromised Immune System : Sometimes a tooth needs to be extracted if there’s a chance that it may become infected. This is the case if a patient has a compromised immune system, such as during chemotherapy or after an organ transplant. During chemo, a person is more likely to get an infection, which can be dangerous. To best fight cancer, a dentist should be part of any cancer-fighting team. Patients should visit a dentist before they start treatment whenever possible. People with organ transplants are at a high risk of infection because of the immune-suppressing drugs they must take.
- Gum Disease : Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. If your dentist has told you that you’ve got it, you’re not alone: One out of every two adults in the U.S., age 30 and older has periodontal disease. Periodontal disease happens when gums pull away from the teeth and create pockets that become infected. The bone and connective tissue that keeps the teeth in place start to break down from bacterial toxins and the body’s natural immune response to the infection. If left untreated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth become loose over time and require extraction.
- Problematic Wisdom Teeth : Sometimes, wisdom teeth have a mind of their own and grow sideways, up into the sinus cavity, or into other badly placed locations. They could be impacted or do not have space to maintain properly. If your dentist X-rays your mouth and notes that these back teeth are exhibiting this issue, you probably need to get them extracted before they crowd other teeth or cause other health concerns. Your dentist might also suggest the removal of your wisdom teeth if there are issues with overcrowding.
How a Tooth is Extracted?
With the help of x-rays, your oral surgeon Dr. Lawrence Falender will determine the best way to remove the tooth or teeth. Tooth removal is done in the Indianapolis office. There are two types of extractions:
- Simple Extraction : Simple extraction is done on a tooth that can easily be seen in the mouth. An Oral Surgeon does this very easily with the use of an instrument called an elevator. Once the tooth is made loose, a pair of forceps is used to extract the tooth from its socket.
- Surgical Extraction : This is a more complicated procedure, which occurs in case a tooth has broken off at the gum level. In this procedure a cut is made into the gum, which sometimes is required to partially cut the bone around the affected tooth. In other instances, the tooth is split into two halves to extract it. Dr. Falender has an expertise to deal with such complex surgical teeth extraction.
Tooth Extraction Aftercare
Your oral surgeon Dr. Falender will give you instructions on what to expect after tooth extraction. Some discomfort is normal and typically is mild. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, can substantially reduce pain after a tooth extraction.
Within the first 24 hours
Bite firmly on a gauze pad for at least 30 minutes and as long as necessary to deal with the heavy oozing that is normal after an extraction. Insert a clean gauze pad after one hour if there is profuse oozing. Oozing may continue for 24 hours:
- Avoid spitting, sucking on candy, or sucking through a straw.
- Avoid rinsing your mouth, and do not brush or floss next to the extraction.
- Avoid tobacco products for at least 72 hours.
- Use allergy medication to prevent sneezing and coughing.
- To reduce bleeding, avoid vigorous activity, and elevate your head when lying down.
- Avoid hot, carbonated, or alcoholic beverages and hot or spicy foods.
- When numbness has subsided completely, drink plenty of fluids, eat only soft foods, and chew on the opposite side.
Take a pain reliever before the anesthetic has worn off or as recommended. Use an ice bag over the area to minimize swelling, applying it for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
After 24 hours
- Begin eating normally as soon as it’s comfortable.
- Brush and floss as usual, using care around the extraction site for the first week.
- Continue with all antibiotics for the full course even if symptoms have subsided. (Only if prescribed)
- Apply moist heat to any swelling, or rinse with warm salt water two to three times a day for one week.
- Contact our office if you experience heavy bleeding, pain or swelling for more than two days, a bad taste in your mouth, or if you have a reaction to the medication.
We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Falender contact our Indianapolis, IN, dental office today by calling (317) 900-4535. Our office welcomes patients in and around Indianapolis, IN, including Fishers, Lawrence, Greenfield, and the surrounding Southern Indianapolis communities.