While our permanent teeth can last us the course of our entire lives, there may be some situations that require them to come out earlier. This can be due to broken, damaged, decayed, or cracked teeth that cannot be repaired. Additionally, baby teeth that haven’t come out on time and are causing additional issues may also require a tooth extraction.
There are typically two different types of tooth extraction, simple and complex. Simple tooth extractions refer to the removal of teeth that are already visible. Complex or surgical extractions are generally a more complicated process. A complex tooth removal requires a medical procedure that is performed by an oral surgeon. These teeth typically have to be removed by at least making an incision through the gums before being able to extract the tooth.
Once your dentist has identified a tooth that needs to be extracted, it is important to know what to expect. During a complex extraction, your oral surgeon will explain exactly how they plan to remove the tooth or teeth. In order to make a sound decision about their procedure, it is likely that you’ll have to have x-rays are taken and a physical exam. Your dentist may also want to have a complete panoramic x-ray done in order to identify any potential issues with the procedure.
You should also be in generally good health and never smoke on the day of the extraction. If you become ill before your appointment, it is important to talk to your surgeon and re-evaluate your plan.
Many surgical extractions will require the patient to be under the care of a general anesthetic. This type of anesthesia leaves the patient completely unconscious, and they will not be able to remember anything about the procedure. This means that you’ll arrive at your appointment and be prepped, but before your oral surgeon completes any portion of the surgery, you will be asleep. When you wake up, your surgery will have been completed, and the teeth will have been removed.
Complex extractions can often vary widely depending on the need of the patient, so be sure to talk in advance with your surgeon, so you know what to expect. However, an incision is typically made through the gums to gain access to the tooth that needs to be removed. Depending on the tooth, your surgeon may be able to immediately remove the tooth, or the tooth may have to be broken into smaller pieces and removed individually. Once the tooth is removed, the area is cleaned and sterilized to ensure there is no infection, and then the wound will be packed and sealed. This allows your body to naturally heal itself.
Some patients will be prescribed an antibiotic to ensure there is no risk of infection, and pain medication to help get them through the first few days.
If you have been under general anesthesia, you will not be allowed to drive home. After you wake up, our staff will observe you to make sure that there are no reactions to the procedure or medications, and then released to go home. We suggest that you take it easy for the first few days. Try to avoid foods that you have to chew as this can aggravate your surgery site. While the potential for side effects is small, if you experience severe pain or significant bleeding, call our offices immediately, and we can assess the situation.
Many patients utilize a tooth extraction as an opportunity to eat ice cream, popsicles, or other treats without the guilt!