DefinitionThis is a procedure to remove a tooth.
|Surgical Removal of a Tooth|
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Reasons for ProcedureWhile dental techniques can save many teeth, a tooth may need to be removed if it:
- Is too badly damaged or decayed to be saved by a root canal
- Has an infected nerve
- Is affecting normal tooth growth
- Is loose from advanced gum disease
- Has a loss of supporting bone, gums, or tissue
Possible ComplicationsComplications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a tooth extracted, your dentist will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Nerve damage
- Poor nutrition
- Poor overall health
- Use of some prescription and non-prescription drugs—talk to your dentist about any medication you are taking.
What to Expect
Prior to ProcedureYour dentist will likely:
- Do a thorough dental exam
- Do dental x-rays of the mouth
AnesthesiaDepending on the procedure, your dentist will choose:
- Local anesthesia—just the area that is being operated on is numbed; given as an injection
- General anesthesia—blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the procedure
Description of the ProcedureIf the tooth is impacted (buried in the gum), the overlying gum tissue will be opened to expose the tooth. Using forceps, the dentist will grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth. This action will loosen the tooth and break the ligaments that hold the tooth in place. The tooth will be pulled, and a blood clot will form in the empty socket. A gauze pad will be packed into the socket. In some cases, a few stitches will be placed to close the gum edges.
Immediately After ProcedureYou will need to bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad. This will reduce bleeding and permit a clot to form in the tooth socket. If rapid bleeding continues, replace with a fresh pad every 20-30 minutes. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for 3-4 hours.
How Long Will It Take?It often takes about 20 minutes, but may take longer for impacted teeth.
How Much Will It Hurt?You will feel pain in your jaw. You may be given pain medication. A complication called dry socket may occur. A dry socket forms when a blood clot does not form in the tooth socket, leaving the bone in the jaw exposed to air and food. A dry socket takes 2-3 weeks to heal and is painful during the healing process.
Post-procedure CareWhen you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
- Do not smoke.
- Continue to brush and floss other teeth. This will help prevent infection in the extraction site.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.