Although we always try to save teeth whenever possible, sometimes tooth extractions are your only option. Examples include when a tooth is severely damaged due to decay or impact, in the case of overcrowding, infection, or periodontal disease, and when a tooth is impacted, which is common with wisdom teeth.
In most cases, you will receive a local anesthetic for your tooth extraction, meaning you will be awake for the procedure, but your mouth will be numb. However, if we need to extract multiple teeth, you may receive a general anesthesia, which means you will be unconscious the entire time.
For a simple extraction, we grasp the tooth in forceps and pull it out. When the tooth is impacted, you need a surgical extraction. This involves cutting some of the gum and the bone covering the tooth. We may even need to cut the tooth into pieces to remove it.
After we have removed the tooth, you may need a few stitches. We will pack a gauze pad over the extraction site to stop the bleeding and to encourage a clot to form.
Taking Extra Precautions
Usually, tooth extractions are very safe procedures. However, there can be complications if you have heart problems, suffer from liver disease, have any artificial joints, have an impaired immune system, or have a history of bacterial endocarditis. For this reason, we ask for your full medical history, including any medications you are currently taking. If we think there is any risk, we will take extra precautions, such as by prescribing antibiotics before the extraction.
You can also avoid problems by following our instructions for recovery. For instance, you will need to rest for two days following the procedure, stick to a diet of soft foods, and refrain from smoking.