When a tooth must be removed, Dr. Pollock‘s experience as an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon offers you the best experience.
# Tooth Extractions
At Rockwall Oral Surgery, we will do everything in our power to save a badly damaged or decayed tooth. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Sometimes, the best course of action is tooth extraction. We know this can be a scary or uncomfortable thought. No one wants to lose a tooth. However, we also offer some replacement options that will restore the function and aesthetics of your smile. Many of the restorations we offer will be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth thanks to cutting-edge technology and the finest materials.
Types of Tooth Extractions
Know the possibilities when it comes to tooth extraction.
A non-surgical extraction involves the removal of a tooth that has already erupted. To remove the tooth, Dr. Kevin Pollock will first administer a local anesthetic to numb the area. Next, we will use an instrument known as an elevator to loosen the tooth from its socket. The elevator helps to detach the roots of the tooth from the underlying jawbone, connective ligaments, and other supportive tissues. Once the tooth is loose enough, we will use a pair of forceps to completely remove it from the mouth.
After the tooth has been removed, we will pack the empty socket with gauze to minimize the bleeding. In some cases, we may also recommend a socket preservation procedure. During this procedure, we place a small amount of bone graft material into the socket. This helps to prevent bone deterioration during the healing process. Once the healing process is complete, we can develop a restoration plan.
A surgical extraction is a little more complicated. Most of the time, a surgical extraction is used to remove a tooth before it erupts above the gumline. For example, most wisdom teeth extractions are surgical extractions. Surgical extractions can also be used to remove impacted teeth, extra teeth, and teeth that have grown in at an angle.
During a surgical extraction, we will administer local anesthetic and numb the area. We also offer serval forms of sedation to reduce anxiety and discomfort. Many times, nitrous oxide will be used in combination with the local anesthetic. Next, Dr. Kevin Pollock will make a small incision into the gum tissue to expose the tooth and underlying bone. Then, we typically break the tooth into several pieces to make the extraction process easier. Once all of the tooth is completely out, we will suture the incisions.
When Does a Tooth Need to be Extracted?
There are many reasons a tooth may need to be extracted. Some of which include:
- Decay. If a tooth becomes overly decayed, it may be too weak to support a crown.
- Damage. Trauma or injury that results in a severely broken or damaged tooth.
- Impacted Teeth. Impacted teeth can be extremely painful and even lead to the development of an abscess or cyst.
- Infection. An infected tooth can also be quite painful. If the infection is allowed to spread, the problem will only compound.
- Wisdom Teeth. Many patients opt to have these teeth removed because there simply is not enough space left in the jaw.
What are the Alternatives to Tooth Extractions?
A tooth extraction is usually a last resort. There are several alternatives we may suggest before the removal of a tooth becomes necessary, some of which include:
- Root canal therapy. The pulpy center within the enamel is crucial to the health and survival of each tooth. When this pulp becomes infected due to gum disease or trauma, we typically recommend a root canal. A root canal helps us remove the infection and preserve the remaining healthy tooth material.
- Periodontal treatment. Early treatment of gum-related problems can also help save your teeth. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
- Medication. Certain medications can be prescribed to resolve infection. We may also recommend over the counter medications for pain.
- Endodontic Surgery. This surgery is designed to remove the infected area and seal it up, so there is little or no risk of future infection.
Talk with us to learn more about your potential options! Only we can decide which option is best for you.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Tooth Extraction?
The initial healing period usually takes one to two weeks depending on your circumstance. For the first few days, minor bleeding, swelling, and discomfort may occur. You can apply an ice bag to the affected area to reduce these symptoms. Avoid rinsing or spitting for the first 24 hours. Once the healing process is complete, we can begin the restoration phase.
Tooth Extraction Post-Operative Instructions
Following tooth extraction you may experience bleeding, oozing, soreness or moderate to severe pain.
- Bleeding should stop by 8–12 hours following the extraction. If you experience significant bleeding past this time please call our office immediately. Oozing of pink fluid for 1–2 days is normal.
- Discomfort following the tooth extraction is best managed with a mild analgesic like Tylenol, Advil or Aleve. If you experience severe pain that lasts more than 2–3 days after your extraction please call our office.
- Healing should be as smooth as possible following tooth extraction. It is important to not disturb the extraction site. Remember to eat a soft diet and avoid vigorous rinsing for 24 hours following the extraction.
- After 24 hours rinse with strong warm salt water for 1 minute a couple of times daily for 3–4 days. This will reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth and will promote better healing.
Replacing Extracted Teeth
Replacing missing teeth is the key to sustained oral health.
Replacing a Single Extracted Tooth
There a few ways you can replace a single extracted tooth. One of the most common and cost-effective ways is with a traditional bridge. A bridge utilizes the two surrounding teeth to support a pontic or false tooth. These teeth will be completely reshaped to accommodate two dental crowns that support a pontic, or false tooth.
Another option would be dental implants. Dental implants have revolutionized the way we treat tooth loss. We believe implants are the best option to replace missing teeth for most patients. The implant screw is placed into the jawbone and serves as the root component of a prosthetic tooth. This allows an implant-supported restoration to look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth.
Replacing Multiple Extracted Teeth
Multiple extracted teeth can also be replaced with a traditional bridge. In this case, we may suspend two or more pontics between the two surrounding teeth. Some patients may also opt for a removable option known as a partial denture. Partial dentures typically use metal claps to attach to the surrounding teeth. While they are cost-effective options, they do not provide the same benefits as the more permanent options.
Dental implants can also be used to support a multi-tooth restoration, such as a fixed bridge. IN most cases, an implant will be placed for each missing tooth; however, it is possible to suspend a pontic between two implants as well.
Learn more about extractions: Routine Extractions.