Dental Extractions (Tooth Removal)
Teeth may need to be removed for a number of reasons:
- Tooth decay, gum disease, or trauma can result in painful, abscessed and/or loose teeth.
- Teeth are often removed because they are impacted. Teeth become impacted when they are prevented from growing into their normal position in the mouth by gum tissue, bone, or other teeth. Impaction is a common reason for the extraction of wisdom teeth.
- Teeth may also be extracted to make more room in the mouth prior to straightening the remaining teeth (orthodontic treatment), or because they are so badly positioned that straightening is impossible
In some non-emergency situations involving one or several teeth, we will evaluate and treat you at the same visit provided we use local anesthesia (often referred to as ‘Novocain®’).
If your dentist has recently taken x-rays which show all of the teeth in question, please bring them with you to your appointment.
Most patients prefer not to return to work on the day a tooth is extracted, usually because of minor post-extraction bleeding and discomfort. We will provide you with post-operative instructions, extra gauze and a prescription for pain medication or antibiotics (if indicated) after your treatment is complete. You can expect mild to moderate discomfort for a few days following the extraction. There may be some swelling, stretching of your lip, or bruising. In general, you should start to feel better after 2-3 days. If you do not, please let us know.
If you prefer to be sedated or ‘go to sleep’, a preoperative appointment to evaluate you and discuss anesthesia options is mandatory. This allows us the opportunity to review your medical history, determine what procedure(s) are needed and otherwise prepare you for your procedure.
If your medical history is complex and you are taking a number of prescribed medications, we may need to discuss your dental treatment with your physician before we can treat you. Please bring a list of all medications you are currently taking with you to your first appointment.
Not all extractions are the same—we will use the most careful techniques to extract the teeth while preserving as much bone as possible
Why is it important to preserve the bone?
You will have several choices of how you can replace the newly missing teeth. All of the options rely on bone support and bone contour for the best function and esthetics. Here is a list of the possible options:
- You may choose to replace your missing teeth with dental implants. These are root-shaped supports that hold your replacement teeth. The more bone support you have, the stronger the implant replacements will be. In some cases, the bone can degenerate to a point where implants can no longer be placed without having more complex bone grafting procedures to create the necessary support. Obviously, preventing bone loss is much easier than recreating the bone later.
- You may choose to replace the missing teeth with a "fixed bridge." This is a restoration that is supported by the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth space. The replacement tooth (or pontic) spans across the space. If the bone is deficient, there will be an unsightly space under the pontic that will trap food and affect your speech.
- Other replacement alternatives include removable partial or full dentures. These often perform better with more supporting bone.