Saving and preserving our natural teeth is the ideal goal in maintaining good oral health. However, several complicated dental conditions may require the tooth to be removed through surgery or surgical extraction. Otherwise, complications like infection and prolonged pain will persist.
If your dentist brought up your possible surgical extraction, it’s natural to be curious about why it’s necessary, the post-surgery recovery, and how it works. As a trusted family dentist in Arnold, Meramec Family Dentistry would like to share some insights about the purpose of surgical extraction and the post-operative care you need after the treatment.
When do you need a surgical extraction?
There are two types of tooth extraction, namely simple extraction and surgical extraction. A simple extraction is a common procedure when the tooth is visible above the gum line. However, if there is not enough tooth structure to pull the tooth, a surgical extraction is necessary to cut through the gums and remove the tooth.
Here are the reasons why surgical extractions are necessary:
Wisdom tooth removal
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars that erupt in our upper and lower teeth. Several issues may cause wisdom teeth removals, such as overcrowding and potential risk for TMJ disorder. Wisdom teeth extractions usually require surgery if they are impacted, partially erupted, or a part of the tooth fails to come in above the gum line. Simple extractions can also be used to remove your wisdom tooth as long as it has erupted properly.
Removal of impacted wisdom tooth
An impacted wisdom tooth is a condition wherein the wisdom tooth fails to erupt properly due to a lack of space or development in a slant or horizontal angle. As it tries to erupt to the surface of the gums, it results in jaw pain, swelling, and tooth infection.
A dentist and oral surgeon can detect an impacted wisdom tooth through a thorough dental exam and x-ray. Through oral surgery, they can access the tooth in the gums and remove it piece by piece.
Severely decayed teeth
A surgical extraction is also necessary when severe tooth decay has totally dismantled the whole tooth structure above the gum line. Your dentist will need to make an incision in the gums to access and remove the remaining tooth roots of the decayed tooth.
Removal of tooth fragments or broken teeth below the gum line
One of the possible complications of tooth extraction is when a fragment of the tooth root is left in the gum line. Since it is no longer connected to the main tooth, the body treats the fragment as a foreign body. If it is not surgically removed, it may cause pain, infection, and delayed recovery of the extraction site.
Extraction of curved or long tooth roots
Some patients have dilaceration or long curved teeth that are not suitable for a simple extraction. A surgical extraction is necessary since pulling them may cause potential risks of breaking the tooth roots and cause other complications.
How does a surgical dental extraction work?
Your dentist will evaluate the position of the tooth through an x-ray. During the procedure, a local anesthetic will be injected around the extraction site to numb the area. Once the anesthesia settles in, your dentist will begin the incision in the gums.
Your dentist has the option of sectioning the tooth or breaking it into smaller pieces to easily extract them. The fibers that hold your tooth in place in the jawbone also need to be removed to loosen the tooth roots. Once all of the fragments of the tooth are removed, the gums will be stitched. After the procedure, your dentist will instruct you with the post-surgery care of the extraction site.
Do’s and don’ts after a surgical extraction
Due to the stitch in your gums, expect that the extracted site will be swollen for a few days. Your dentist will prescribe you pain medications and antibiotics to keep infections and pain at bay as you recover. You may need to make some lifestyle changes as your gums heal. These include:
- Limit your mouth movements like sucking a straw or talking too much to avoid dislodging the blood clot. Also, refrain from poking the tooth socket with your tongue to prevent complications like dry socket and delayed healing.
- Follow the medications prescribed by your doctor.
- Opt for a liquid diet and soft foods.
- Call your dentist for instances of prolonged pain, bleeding, and swelling of the gum tissue.
- Continue brushing your teeth without touching the affected area after 24 hours.
- Avoid smoking.
Get the most advanced and pain-free surgical extractions at Meramec Family Dentistry
Tooth extractions can either be a traumatic experience or a sigh of relief. Make sure it’s the latter by letting a highly-trained dental professional, like Dr. Mandefro, handle your surgical extraction. You may also plan and discuss your options for replacing your missing tooth after you recover, which may include:
Schedule an appointment today to learn more about your condition and your tooth extraction procedure.