Nobody ever likes being told that they need to have one or more of their teeth extracted from their mouth. It can be an understandably nerve-wracking experience for many patients. However, for these individuals, an extraction may be their only option at this point. While we typically will try to preserve a patient’s natural tooth for as long as possible, we sometimes have to inform a patient that their tooth must be removed. If so, we here at Manhattan Maxillofacial Surgery Group will work hard to ensure that our patients will experience minimal discomfort and downtime after their dental extraction.
Reasons a Tooth May Need To be Extracted
There are several reasons that a patient may require a tooth to be extracted. One common reason that a tooth may need to be removed is due to serious tooth decay. While earlier stages of tooth decay can be treated with alternative treatment methods, including fillings or even a root canal, once it reaches a certain point of severity, then extraction may be the only option available. Injury to a tooth can also require extraction. Serious infection, to the tooth or the surrounding gums, may also lead to an extraction.
Simple Tooth Extraction
Simple tooth extraction can typically be performed under local anesthesia. Generally, we will use lidocaine to numb the site of the extraction before we proceed. Once the site is thoroughly numbed, we will then proceed to loosen the tooth using a special tool called an “elevator”. When the tooth is loose enough to be gently removed, we will then reach into the mouth with our forceps to remove the tooth.
Surgical Tooth Extraction
In some cases, simple tooth extraction may not be sufficient to remove the tooth properly. In these cases, we may need to perform a surgical tooth extraction. Surgical tooth extraction may be needed if the tooth has not fully erupted from the gumline, such is the case in many wisdom tooth extractions. Sometimes injury causes the tooth to break off below the gumline. This is another case that justifies a surgical tooth extraction.
During a surgical extraction, local anesthetic may be sufficient. Some patients may benefit from inhaled sedation (such as nitrous oxide or laughing gas) or intravenous (IV) sedation. An incision may be placed to expose the hidden tooth. Once we can reveal the tooth, we can proceed to loosen the tooth with our tools. We will then be able to remove the tooth with our forceps carefully.
Aftercare for an Extraction
Please follow our aftercare instructions closely. We will pack the site with gauze. This will help encourage a clot to form over the extraction site. Avoid dislodging this clot, as it can lead to a painful complication called dry socket. Avoid using a drinking straw after your procedure and abstain from drinking or using tobacco products. After 24 hours, you can start gently swishing with saltwater. If you notice any signs of infection (such as foul discharge or swollen lymph nodes), or you have excessive bleeding, please contact us immediately.
Getting a tooth extracted is a very safe and routine procedure. Many of our patients often report experiencing minimal discomfort during the extraction. If you would like to learn more about tooth extractions, or you are ready to set up an appointment with us here at Manhattan Maxillofacial Surgery Group, please give our compassionate office a call today at (212) 245-5801 today!