Facts about tooth extractions

Tooth extractions

Tooth extractions can form the basis of many cosmetic dental treatments. Dental implant treatment, for example, typically requires tooth extraction in order to prepare the mouth for the insertion of the implants. It is also sometimes the case in orthodontic treatment that teeth need to be removed to create space. There are also instances when teeth become rotten beyond repair and the tooth has to be extracted in order to prevent infection. The following guide will give you a comprehensive insight into the tooth extraction procedure.

Why would extraction be needed?

There are many different reasons why teeth may need to be extracted. In many cases, the tooth has to be removed because it is decayed. This means the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth are damaged. In this case the tooth is effectively dead. These “dead” teeth need to be removed in order to prevent abscesses developing in the mouth and gums.

There are also various other reasons why extractions are needed. These include:
Injuries and accidents

Trips, falls or sports injuries can cause the teeth to become damaged. If the teeth are not salvageable they will usually be extracted.

Periodontal disease

This condition refers to severe cases of gum disease. Periodontal disease affects the tooth sockets and tissue in the gum. This tissue is what holds the teeth in place. If it becomes damaged the teeth may become loose.

Overcrowding

The teeth are said to be ‘crowded’ when there is not enough space in the mouth to accommodate them all in the correct position. Many people suffer from this problem. It is normally the result of having a smaller jaw than normal. It is also caused when people have lost their primary set of teeth at an earlier age than usual and so suffer from crowded teeth.

Wisdom teeth

Many people do not have enough room in their mouth for their wisdom teeth to develop properly and this can cause them problems. If this is found to be the case then the wisdom teeth will usually be removed.

Are there any alternatives to tooth extraction?

If the tooth is severely damaged or decayed then extraction is really the only option. However, in some cases alternative treatments may be available. If the teeth are crowded, the patient will usually be referred to an orthodontist who may, in turn, advise that a brace is fitted to correct the positioning of the teeth and the spacing between them. Some patients, prior to having a brace fitted, need to have some teeth extracted. If the tooth is not severely decayed it may be possible to save the tooth by having a procedure known as root canal treatment. This treatment replaces the damaged roots of the tooth without having to have the whole tooth extracted.

Before the procedure

Your dentist should discuss your treatment and allow you to ask any questions you have before the extraction procedure. If you are nervous or anxious, you need to let your dentist know, as it might be possible for them to give you a sedative in order to help you relax. Your dentist will also ask you questions about your medical history, including any medications you are taking, allergies you have and any particular concerns you have about the treatment. The treatment begins with your dentist giving you an injection of local anaesthetic.

What does the procedure involve?

The local anaesthetic injected into your gum will begin to take effect almost immediately and the area surrounding the tooth that is to be extracted should go numb. Once the area is completely numb, the extraction process will begin.

At the beginning of the procedure your dentist will use an instrument called an elevator to increase the size of the socket around the affected tooth. The tooth will then be moved from side to side and then your dentist will gradually pull the tooth out using special forceps. In a few cases, the dentist may need to make a small incision in the gum tissue on either side of the tooth. This is because the socket of the tooth is particularly tight or particularly small.

Is a tooth extraction painful?

Whilst the anaesthetic prevents the patient from feeling pain, they may still feel pressure on the affected tooth while it is being manoeuvred and then pulled out. Some patients may find this uncomfortable but there should be no sensation of pain.