Surgical Tooth Extraction
The extraction of a tooth is the full removal of the tooth. There are multiple reasons a tooth may need to be extracted but generally speaking it is to improve the health of the mouth. Working with our staff at Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we can examine the tooth, or teeth, in question and evaluate if extraction is the right step. We can then discuss restorative options to improve your oral health, correct your bite and enhance your look, dental implant.
Extractions are categorized as either surgical or non-surgical. Oftentimes family dentists will take care of non-surgical extractions in their office and then refer surgical extractions to oral surgeries like ours. The surgical extraction of a tooth means that cuts need to be made in the soft tissue and bone to retrieve the tooth.
Surgical extraction is most common in teeth that are:
||Impacted: An impacted tooth is a tooth that is unable to fully erupt from the gum line, the tooth may be partially or fully covered by gum tissue. Most often, a tooth is impacted due to inadequate space to come in, or because its positioning is out of alignment. The 3rd row of molars, or wisdom teeth, often find themselves being impacted due to their late arrival, but any tooth has the potential of being impacted.
||Damaged: When a tooth has broken below the gumline, or been fractured severely, so that it doesn't have enough tooth structure to cover with a dental crown or to grab with forceps, surgical extraction may be necessary.
||Weakened: A tooth that is severely decayed or weakened may not have the structural integrity to be pulled with forceps. If the dentist is fearful that the tooth would break during extraction the dentist may refer the extraction to our team. We have the ability to quickly switch gears should a non-surgical extraction become a surgical one.
Surgical Extraction Procedure
The first objective of every extraction procedure is ensuring the comfort of the patient. Extraction can be uncomfortable and we have the ability to vastly decrease the pain and make the process easier. Depending on the work being done, we have multiple conscious sedation options available and can make arrangements for unconscious sedation when needed.
The surgical extraction of a tooth involves moving or shaping the tissue to gain access to the tooth. Often the tooth is quartered, or broken into four sections, and then removed. Depending on the situation, soft tissue or bone tissue may need to be removed, especially if the bone is diseased. Once the fragments are cleared, we then suture the area closed. A gauze pad is placed over the area until bleeding stops. We will review care instructions before leaving, the patient will need to treat the area with caution for a few days.
Post Extraction Surgery
The first few days of healing post extraction can be uncomfortable. We will provide you with details of what to expect and symptoms that can be concerning. In general, some bleeding is to be expected but excessive bleeding can be a sign of trouble, if the bleeding seems to be excessive please seek medical treatment immediately and contact our office when appropriate. Additionally, be aware of signs of infection, this can include developing a fever or abnormal swelling. After 24 hours, rinsing with warm salt water has been shown to assist in promoting healing and decreasing infection causing bacteria. We encourage our patients to call our office with any questions or concerns.