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Tooth Extractions

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In some dental situations, the removal of a tooth from the bone is the most preferable option for a patient. A tooth that has developed a large cavity or fracture may require dental work beyond the patient's budget, calling for an extraction. There are a few facts extraction patients should know about their upcoming procedure.

The Procedure Itself

Typically, the non-surgical extraction of a tooth involves the patient undergoing a local anesthetic. Then, the dentist will loosen the tooth with forceps or a luxator before extracting it completely. (A surgical extraction, often performed by an oral surgeon, involves cutting into the gum to aid in the process of removal. It often requires full sedation.)


To recover, extraction patients will be primarily monitoring bleeding from the extraction site and taking precautionary steps to keep the site clean and healing. Be sure to apply gauze to the site per the dentist's recommendations, rinse the area gently with warm salt water, and be sure to chew on the opposite side of the mouth for at least few days. Avoidance of smoking, drinking through straws, and eating crumbly or sharp foods are strongly recommended to avoid agitating the area.

Why Do I Need This Done?
One reason to require an extraction is very simple: extensive damage to a tooth. This typically comes about through decay, but also from injuries that crack or break a tooth. (In some cases, patients with advanced gum disease will seek extractions for their weakened, damage teeth.) Of course, fillings, root canals, and crowns help most of these issues. But sometimes, the problem is too severe or costly to treat, so an extraction is the answer.

Some people have poor spacing, positioning, or growth patters in their teeth. A tooth may grow too close or up against another tooth, or come in from the jaw at a troublesome angle. These are typically wisdom teeth in the far rear of the mouth, and dentists usually want to extract any wisdom teeth with any bothersome qualities whatsoever. If an unneeded wisdom tooth is problematic to its surrounding teeth, isn't removal the clear answer?

When Shouldn't I Think About an Extraction?
An extraction is not always a no-sweat cure-all. In fact, choosing an extraction when it isn't recommended can lead to bigger problems down the line. When your teeth suddenly have a gap, the surrounding ones can shift over time, threatening the alignment and bite of your teeth. Be sure to listen closely to your dentist's advice; he or she has been educated to provide the strongest options for your dental health. 11