Tooth Extractions

Why are teeth extracted?

  • Teeth extractions are done for a variety of reasons. Below are some examples.
  • Teeth infected due to very large cavities that have not been restored for a long time
  • Teeth which loosen due to Periodontal(gum) diseases.
  • Fractured or broken teeth
  • Teeth that are traumatised leading to infection and inflammation of the pulp
  • Teeth that fail to erupt or are unable to erupt into the mouth and are deep inside the bone. They are called impacted teeth and may have to be removed.
  • Abscessed teeth are teeth in which the infection has spread to the underlying bone.
  • Teeth that are abnormal in development, i.e., structure, shape, size, etc.
  • Teeth that are involved in cysts or tumours.
  • Ectopic teeth that have erupted in the wrong place.
  • Sometimes the orthodontist may remove some teeth to correct crooked teeth.

How is a tooth extracted?

There are two basic methods of tooth removal.

1. Simple Method

The first method requires dental forceps and is suitable for the majority of teeth that have erupted. In this method, the tooth is held at its neck by forceps and rocked gently to expand the surrounding bone socket. This action can be likened to removing a post set in the ground by rocking it sideward.

2. Surgical Method

The second(surgical) method is reserved for those teeth whose roots either cannot be gripped using the forceps, or the roots are of odd shape and defy all efforts to remove them by using forceps. In this method, the gums are cut open, and the bone around the tooth is cut to allow removal of the teeth. After extraction, sutures are placed to allow faster healing and to prevent food particles from getting lodged in the wound. This method is generally used to extract wisdom teeth.

Does it pain while removing a tooth?

Dental extractions are done after administration of local anaesthesia that makes the tooth and the surrounding tissues numb. Thus extractions need not be painful. But a feeling of pressure may be experienced by the patient during the procedure. This is often coupled with fear and anxiety, which makes the patient feel some pain.

Why does the dentist ask me to bite on a gauze pack after extraction?

Soon after the dental extraction, the dentist will ask you to bite on a gauze pack for an hour. This helps in stopping the bleeding that occurs after extraction and helps in forming a clot. During this period, the patient is asked not to open the mouth or talk, and keep swallowing all the saliva.

Do I need to take off from work after Dental extraction?

Normal extractions are not very traumatic, and the patient can resume work in a few hours.

However, after surgical extractions, when sutures are placed, it is usually advisable to avoid demanding physical work or exercise for the remainder of the day as such activities may restart the bleeding

What care should be taken after Dental extraction?

  • The following care should be taken after extraction:
  • Bite on a gauze pack for 1 hour.
  • Take rest and avoid physical activities.
  • Avoid touching the region of the wound with your fingers or tongue.
  • Avoid warm and hard food as it can result in bleeding. In addition, soft food is advised.
  • The dentist may advise cold fomentation for some patients to reduce the inflammation and swelling.
  • After 24 hours, warm saline mouthwash helps in keeping the wound clean.
  • Avoid biting the lips/cheeks till the anaesthesia wears off.

What is local anaesthesia or LA?

Local anaesthesia is the temporary loss of sensation to pain in a localised area of the tissue. This is done by injecting a local anaesthetic drug around the tooth being extracted. The teeth, lips and tongue become numb, so the patient does not feel the pain during the procedure. This numbness lasts for 1-1.5 hours. Most dental extractions are done under local anaesthesia.