There are many reasons you might need a tooth removed. The most common reason is that the tooth has been so damaged from decay or trauma that it cannot be repaired, even with a dental crown. However, there are a host of other reasons you might need a tooth extraction.
If your teeth are cramped close together, you may need to have one or more teeth extracted before you can get orthodontics, dental implants, or a dental bridge. Similarly, a new tooth may need to be removed if there isn’t room for it in your mouth. You also may need a tooth extracted if your gum disease is so severe that your teeth have loosened, or if a tooth is so infected it cannot be treated with a root canal and antibiotics. Sometimes, even just the risk of a tooth infection can be reason enough to pull the tooth, especially if your immune system is compromised. At Cooley Smiles here in Bellevue, we can help you with tooth extractions if your tooth is beyond saving.
What Is The Procedure?
Before getting a tooth extraction, it is important that you tell us if you have any conditions that may put you at higher risk for infection. These include:
• Heart defects
• Damaged or replaced heart valves
• Liver disease
• Renal or thyroid disease
• High blood pressure
• Artificial joints such as a hip replacement
• A history of bacterial endocarditis
• A compromised immune system
If it is determined you are at higher risk, we will place you on antibiotics before and after the procedure. On the day of the tooth extraction, we will numb the area around your tooth with a local anesthetic, though a general anesthetic may be used to make you sleep through the procedure if you have severe anxiety or are needing multiple teeth removed. Then This loosens the tooth from the ligaments and bone holding it in place until the tooth comes free. If the tooth is particularly difficult to extract, it may need to be removed in pieces or we may even need to cut away some bone. If this is done, it will be under general anesthesia. Once removed, a blood clot forms in the socket. To help stop bleeding, we place a gauze pad over the socket and place a few stitches to close the gum over the socket. It usually takes a few days to recover from a tooth extraction. During this time, you should limit your activity, apply an ice pack to your cheek, take over-the-counter painkillers as necessary, eat soft foods, and refrain from smoking, using a straw or brushing or flossing at the site of the extraction.
What Are The Risks?
Tooth extraction is a common and highly successful procedure. However, like any surgery, there can be complications. Dry socket is one of the most common complications. Dry socket is a painful condition that occurs when the blood clot that formed over the extraction site falls off, revealing the nerve endings underneath. Infection is another risk, as bacteria from your mouth can enter the bloodstream during surgery. If you are deemed at high risk of infection, make sure to take your antibiotics as directed. Other risks include significant bleeding, pain or swelling at the surgical site, delayed healing, or bite collapse. If you experience bleeding lasting longer than 12 hours, fever or chills, nausea or vomiting, cough, chest pain or shortness of breath, contact us immediately.
While there are risks to getting a tooth extracted, the benefits will likely outweigh your risk of complications. If you think you might need a tooth removed, our experts at Cooley Smiles are here to help walk you through the whole process. Call (425) 998-6998 to book your appointment today.