Dental extractions are performed for a variety of reasons including tooth decay, injury, and for orthodontic treatment. Extractions are a relatively common procedure in most dental offices. The difficulty of the procedure varies depending on the case and the patient, however anesthesia is used to numb the area and prevent pain during the procedure.

Types of Extractions

There are two forms of extraction: simple and surgical extractions.

Simple extractions are performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth. They are removed due to decay or injury and are usually performed under a local anesthetic. During this procedure, the doctor will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the forceps back and forth. The loosened tooth will then easily come out.

Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line or that have not yet come in (ie: wisdom teeth). To remove the tooth, the doctor will have to cut and pull back the gums, which allows access to the area. This is necessary so that they can see the tooth that needs to be removed. Surgical extractions are usually done with local anesthesia but a general anesthesia is sometimes preferred.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

The most common reason for removal of a tooth is severe decay or breakage of a tooth. However, teeth may also be removed because of:

  • Severe tooth decay or infection
  • Extra teeth that are blocking other teeth from growing in
  • Severe gum disease
  • To make room for orthodontic treatment
  • The tooth can not be restored endodontically
  • Fractured teeth
  • To make room for a dental prosthesis (i.e.: bridge or denture)
  • Cosmetic reasons

Regardless of the reasons a tooth must be pulled, extraction is usually reserved only for cases in which no other treatment option will cure the infection or problem.

Frequently Asked Questions About Extractions

What should I expect when I have a tooth extracted?

As always, your health and comfort are our top priorities. First, Dr. Sean Kennelly will take X-rays of your mouth to make sure he has a clear understanding of your case. Then he will explain what needs to be done and give you a chance to ask questions about why he recommends an extraction and what will happen during the procedure itself. Dr. Kennelly will also talk about your options for anesthetics or sedation. You may prefer just a local (and highly effective) anesthetic, or you may decide you would rather have an intravenous injection and be fully sedated. Most patients recover in just a day or two.

How should I take care of my mouth after I have a tooth extracted?

After a your procedure, it’s normal to experience mild discomfort and swelling. You can help alleviate that by using an ice pack for about 20 minutes after the tooth is pulled. You may also experience some light bleeding. It will help to put some pressure on the area. Try rolling up some gauze, putting it over the empty socket, and biting down. Make sure you feel some pressure when you bite down, and leave the gauze in for about 45 minutes. If you prefer, you can try putting a moistened tea bag over the area instead. For the first two days, you shouldn’t drink through a straw or spit, and you absolutely must not smoke. Avoid hard or crunchy food like nuts and popcorn for the first few days as well.

After 24 hours of your procedure, you can start rinsing the area with warm salt water. You can also brush the area gently with a soft-bristle brush. And, of course, you should carefully follow the instructions for any antibiotics that Dr. Sean Kennelly prescribes for you. Be sure to read the label and ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.