What is a Tooth Extraction?
A Tooth extraction, put simply, is the removal of a tooth from the mouth. Dental extractions are most often performed because a tooth has sustained damage or decay, or cannot be saved by Root Canal treatment, or to prepare for the placement of a Dental Implant. Advanced gum disease may be another contributing factor in a tooth extraction.
What are the steps involved in a tooth extraction?
Regular Tooth Extraction: A tooth that has fully erupted through the gum line can usually be removed as easily as any other tooth via a regular extraction.
Surgical Tooth Extraction and Oral Surgery: A wisdom tooth or other tooth that is impacted or is still under the gumline or embedded in the jaw bone may require a surgical extraction, which is a form of oral surgery. A surgical extraction means your dentist will make an incision along your gum line to expose the tooth, and remove any bone that is still covering the tooth to allow it to be removed. Your dental insurance may cover all or a portion of surgical tooth extractions.
Your dentist may recommend extracting one tooth at a time, or focus on one area of your mouth at a time. Before the dentist removes the tooth, he or she will numb the surrounding tissue with a local anesthetic.
If you or a loved one have experienced dental anxiety in the past, your dentist may utilize Nitrous Oxide, known as laughing gas during the procedure, or may have prescribed an oral sedative to help you relax.
Once the area has been numbed, the dentist will remove the tooth, control any bleeding, and if necessary, may use sutures (stitches) to close the gums. Your dentist may prescribe or recommend over the counter medications to help control any post-procedure pain or swelling.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Wisdom teeth do not always have to cause you pain to cause future problems. The movement of surrounding teeth caused by wisdom teeth is often slow, and may not cause any pain. However, if you or a loved one have had braces or other orthodontic treatment, crowding from wisdom teeth can potentially un-do that work, resulting in crooked and misaligned teeth and jaws, as well as wisdom teeth pain.
Your dentist will review your x-rays and the positioning of your wisdom teeth at your regular check-up visits. He or she may recommend removing some or all of your wisdom teeth to help alleviate any pain, swelling or infection you may currently have, or to avoid future problems. Additionally, your dentist may recommend removing wisdom teeth earlier rather than later, because future extractions may become more painful or complicated, or even result in a dental emergency.
Your dentist will determine the position of your wisdom teeth and determine the type of extraction to be performed. In most cases, your 1st Family Dental dentist can remove your wisdom teeth right in the office. Occasionally, however, he or she may refer a patient with a special case to an oral surgeon for an evaluation.
Pediatric Dental Extractions for Children
The tooth extraction procedure and recovery for pediatric patients is very similar to that of adults. In some cases, Nitrous Oxide may be used to help a child to feel more relaxed during the procedure. In this case, your child should not eat for 2 hours prior to the procedure.
Dental Extractions for Orthodontics & Braces
Sometimes, orthodontic treatment is needed to facilitate other dental procedures such as crowns, veneers and implants. Also, certain orthodontic problems require collaboration with oral surgeons (for example: to expose impacted teeth or correct severe bite problems and facial deformities). Our dentists and orthodontic specialists use this team-based approach as a part of our comprehensive suite of treatment services.
Cost and Insurance Coverage for Dental Extractions
The cost of a tooth extraction will vary depending upon a variety of factors, including the type of dental extraction needed. Prior to your procedure, your dentist will review what treatment is needed, and our staff will provide you with information about any fees associated with the procedure, as well as options available to help make sure you receive the dental care you need in a way that fits into your budget.
If you have dental insurance, your coverage often includes preventative care including regular exams and x-rays. It is important to stay up to date with your insurance coverage. Our staff is happy to review your coverage with you to ensure you are maximizing your insurance benefits while minimizing any out of pocket expenses.
Post-procedure care for Dental Extractions
It is very important for patients to follow the dentist’s post-procedure recovery instructions, which include avoiding smoking, chewing hard or tough foods, and strenuous physical activity for a period of time to allow the gums and jaw to heal.
If Nitrous Oxide or local anesthetic only was used during the extraction, you will be able to drive yourself home if you’d like. If a prescription sedative or anti-anxiety medication was used, you will need to have a friend drive you home. After an extraction, some pain and swelling can be expected for a while. Your dentist will tell you what you might expect, and also let you know when it may be a good idea to call the office to report if you are experiencing any problems beyond what is normally expected, such as bleeding or a dry socket.
Once the healing process is complete, people who have had tooth extractions can typically get right back to life as usual.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental and Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Where can I get a tooth extraction?
All 1st Family Dental offices offer tooth extractions as a part of our comprehensive oral health services.
Do I really need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
The answer to this question is: “it depends.” Each person and situation is different. If you are not currently experiencing pain or crowding, your dentist may recommend removing your wisdom teeth to avoid those types of problems in the future, based on what they see on your x-rays, as well as their professional and clinical experience. Wisdom teeth can move very slowly, so problems can sometimes take years to develop. Extraction of wisdom teeth can become more complicated and painful if delayed, and may require the services of an oral surgeon. Your dentist may recommend removing your wisdom teeth before they become a problem or even cause a future dental emergency.
Are tooth extractions painful? What can I expect?
Some pain, swelling and bleeding are to be expected after most extractions. Each extraction is different and everyone experiences pain and recovery differently. Your dentist or our staff may have provided you a post-extraction instruction guide after your procedure. This guide contains helpful information to make your recovery as speedy and complete as possible and avoid common issues such as dry sockets or pulled sutures.
Your dentist will also explain what signs to look for that may tell you it’s time to call our office. If you had a surgical extraction, we may give you a post-op courtesy call a day or two after your procedure to see how you are feeling or if you have any questions. We are happy to answer questions any time at your local 1st Family Dental office, and our 24-hour on-call dentist is always available for a phone consultation.