Tooth Extractions – Atlanta, Brookhaven & Chamblee
What is a Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction, or dental extraction, is the removal of a tooth or multiple teeth from its socket. This can be due to a variety of reasons, but mostly it is to maintain good oral health.
What are the Different Types of Tooth Extractions?
There are two major types of tooth extractions:
- Simple Extraction: Simple extractions are performed by your regular dentist or a specialist and involve the loosening of the tooth by the dentist, who then removes it with forceps. Although this sounds painful, this procedure is performed while the patient is under sedatives or local anesthetics, so you will feel no pain. This is typically done when the tooth is visible in the mouth.
- Surgical Extraction: Surgical extractions are a little more complicated and are called for when the tooth has broken off at the gum line or if the tooth has not erupted in the mouth. The oral surgeon will make a small incision in the gum in order to successfully remove the broken tooth. This type of extraction is most commonly used for wisdom teeth extractions.
Reasons for Pulling Teeth
Getting your teeth pulled is a very common procedure, and is done so due to a variety of reasons:
- Teeth are no longer healthy: Although your teeth are strong and resilient, they can get damaged through decay or physical trauma. When this happens, this can affect the overall health of your mouth, and a dental extraction can be one of the options in recovering your oral health.
- Your mouth has become too crowded: Sometimes the inside of your mouth can become overcrowded due to your teeth, causing crooked and misaligned teeth. Your dentist may consider a tooth extraction in preparation of orthodontic treatments to properly align your teeth.
- Infection or risk of infection: If your tooth decay or damage affects the pulp (center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels) of the tooth, your whole gum area can be exposed to infection, resulting in your doctor recommending an extraction. Likewise, if your immune system becomes compromised and therefore has cause you to be exposed to the risk of infection in a tooth or a set of teeth, an extraction may be recommended.
- Gum disease is affecting your teeth: If your gums or bones around your teeth have become infected, this may cause your teeth to become loose. This may require an extraction of the affected tooth or teeth.
What to Expect with Tooth Extraction
A tooth extraction is a very common, safe procedure that dentists and oral surgeons perform. You will be provided either local anesthetics or general anesthetic, so you will not feel any pain during the procedure.
For a simple extraction, the dentist will use forceps to loosen the teeth and remove it. For a surgical extraction, a small incision will be made in the gum and bone tissue that covers the tooth, and remove it using forceps. For more difficult-to-remove teeth, it is removed in smaller pieces.
The dentist will then use a gauze pad and cover the exposed tooth socket to stop the bleeding. In some cases, the dentist may use self-dissolving stitches to close the incision. You will then be asked to bite down on the gauze to prevent further blood loss.
In rare cases, you may experience dry socket, the breaking of the blood clot in the socket, exposing the bone in the socket. If this happens, your dentist can help deal with the pain by placing a sedative dressing over the socket for a few days. This will protect the socket, while allowing a new blood clot to form.
What to Tell Your Dentist Before You Have a Tooth Pulled
It is important for any medical procedure, no matter how common or simple, to let your doctor know of your medical history, and any supplements or medicine you are currently taking. In the case of dental extractions, removing teeth exposes your gums to potentially harmful bacteria entering the wound and entering your bloodstream, or infecting the wounded area.
If you have any of these conditions in particular, it is especially important to let your dentist know before your extraction:
- Damaged or man-made heart valves
- Congenital heart defect
- Impaired immune system
- Liver disease
- Joint replacements, such as hip or knee
- History of bacterial endocarditis
After you’ve had a tooth extracted
Recovery typically takes a few days after the surgery. In order to maximize recovery speed and minimize infections, here’s a list of what we suggest:
- Let your body rest for at least 1 full day and limit your activity for a few days following the procedure.
- Use an ice bag to keep the swelling down in the affected area.
- Change your gauze before they become soaked with blood.
- Minimize pressure within the mouth for at least 24 hours. This means no spitting, rinsing, sucking on straws, or any other action that requires your mouth to use force.
- Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist if you are feeling any pain or discomfort.
- After 24 hours, very gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to prevent bacterial infections.
- Avoid hard foods for the next few days. Soft foods such as soup, yogurt, or pudding is highly recommended!
- Keep your head propped up with pillows when lying down. Lying flat can prolong the bleeding of the wound.
- Brushing and flossing is recommended in order to prevent infections, but be sure to avoid the extraction site.
- Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
- Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the extraction. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
- When lying down, prop your head with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid the extraction site. Doing so will help prevent infection.
When to call your dentist post-extraction
After a dental extraction, it is very normal to feel pain or discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. It is also normal for swelling or signs of light bleeding to persist for upto 24 hours after the procedure. If, however, severe bleeding or intense pains persist for more than 4 hours after the extraction, you should contact your dentist immediately.
If you also show any of these signs, you should contact your dentist for a checkup:
- You are showing signs of infection, including a fever or chills
- You are constantly feeling nauseous or are vomiting due to nausea
- Excessive swelling, redness, and discharge persists long after the procedure was complete
Keep in mind that the healing procedure takes about 1-2 weeks. But, if you are showing any signs of abnormality that is much more severe than the typical symptoms of post-extraction such as slight swelling, blood residue, or discomfort and pain, contact your dentist immediately.
Tooth Extractions in Atlanta, GA
If you feel discomfort or pains in your mouth, you may have a condition that requires a tooth extraction. Our dentist Dr. Shelly Mixson, DMD, has 15 years of experience in dental treatments and cosmetic dentistry procedures. With her expertise, we can help you deal with any oral problems and restore your oral health back to perfect conditions. If you require professional dental services in Brookhaven, Chamblee, or Atlanta, GA, give us a call at (770) 455-6602 or fill out our contact form to book an appointment today!