Why Extractions Are Performed
There are many reasons why extractions are performed, such as:
- Damaged or infected tooth that cannot be repaired
- Infection around the tooth
- Crowding caused by too many teeth in the jaw
- Prevention of complications related to wisdom teeth
- Retention of “baby” teeth
- Prevention of complications related to radiation, chemotherapy, or organ transplants
As noted above, although you might be unhappy to lose a tooth or teeth, the extraction of teeth for these reasons helps promote a healthy mouth. It’s important to focus on the future promise after an extraction, whether it’s orthodontic treatment leading to a straight smile, healthier function of your bite, or even the placement of a dental implant to replace the lost tooth or teeth.
If a tooth is damaged or infected, restorations are attempted to preserve the tooth, including a root canal therapy procedure. However, these are not always successful.
Likewise, if you have gum disease, we will attempt to treat the gum disease and preserve the tooth, but if the gums and bones have been damaged too much, extraction might be the best solution.
Modern people don’t develop as wide a jaw as our ancestors because we don’t eat as much raw, rough food. That makes dental crowding, with the potential for extraction, more necessary. This is especially true of wisdom teeth, the third molars that often become impacted because there’s not enough room for them to emerge.
Baby teeth are supposed to fall out, which is why they’re also known as deciduous teeth. But they don’t always come out, so they may need to be extracted.
Finally, if you are having procedures that may compromise your immune system, it’s sometimes deemed prudent to preventively remove one or more teeth that might pose risks in the future.
A Gentle Touch: Atraumatic Extractions
Traditional extractions were performed in a traumatic fashion. The tools used were fairly likely to break the tooth or cause damage to the bone around the tooth. This could lead to serious complications.
Dr. Ravon uses a technique known as an atraumatic extraction, which uses basic physics principles to help leverage a tooth out, reducing the risk of damage to the gums and bone. You’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily the procedure is accomplished, especially if you’ve had teeth removed in the old fashion.
Healing After A Tooth Extraction
Before getting a procedure, people are curious about the aftereffects, so we’re providing a general summary of recovery. When you have your tooth extracted, we will give you detailed aftercare instructions. It’s important to consult these instructions first and contact us directly if you have any questions.
After a tooth extraction, you will have a gauze pad over the extraction site. About a half hour after you get home, you can remove this pad. If you are still bleeding, place a clean gauze pad and continue to apply pressure.
When You Arrive Home
Numbness from the procedure will persist for hours after you arrive home. Before the local anesthetic wears off, you should take over-the-counter pain medication (ibuprofen and other NSAIDs work well–Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc.). Applying an ice pack intermittently can also help control discomfort and swelling.
Whether it was technically a surgical extraction or not, consider your extraction as a surgical procedure and focus on rest and recovery for the next 24 hours. Strenuous activity can increase bleeding. Avoid alcohol, vigorous rinsing of your mouth, and drinking through a straw during this time.
Eating and Drinking
Eat soft, nutritious foods. Even if you don’t feel like eating, it’s important to try to get something in you to provide fuel for healing. Note that nausea and vomiting are potentially signs of serious complications and should be reported to us.
Slowly work your way back up to solid foods. Start by chewing on the far side of your mouth from the extraction site. Gradually transition to chewing on both sides of your mouth.
At first, you will want to avoid hot and cold foods and drinks. Gradually reintroduce these as your tolerance increases.
At first, avoid brushing and flossing around the extraction site. After a couple days, you can brush the teeth adjacent to the extraction site.
At this time, you can also begin cleaning the extraction site by gently rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution (½ teaspoon to 1 cup of water). Remember not to swish too vigorously.
Watch For Complications
As your extraction site heals, you have to watch out for complications. An uncommon complication is known as dry socket. It occurs when the blood clot that is supposed to form over the extraction site either never forms or detaches. This can cause severe pain at the extraction site.
There is also the potential for an infection after extraction.
Contact us if you experience:
- Increasing pain at or around the extraction site
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bleeding that increases or doesn’t stop
These could be signs of complications.
Do You Need An Extraction?
If you have been told you need a tooth extracted or you suspect it, a periodontist is a specialist in the procedure and can help you get optimal care. For an appointment with a Beverly Hills periodontist, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment with Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD.