A tooth extraction is sometimes necessary to remove a damaged or decayed tooth that may be compromising overall oral health, function, and comfort. Our dentists at Scottsdale Smile Center view tooth extraction procedures as a last resort, and will do everything possible to save a tooth before recommending its removal. In cases where tooth extraction is advised, our doctors utilize advanced techniques that can provide a virtually painless treatment process.
What Are the Most Common Reasons for Tooth Extraction?
For many individuals, a treatment such as a root canal, a dental crown, or even a standard filling can save a damaged tooth from extraction. If the tooth is in a condition where these options are not likely to be effective, removal of the tooth may be the only way to relieve pain or prevent the tooth from creating additional oral health problems. An extraction may be recommended for a tooth affected by:
- Traumatic injury
- Severe breaks and cracks
- Severe decay
- Extreme crowding of other teeth
When you meet with our dentist for a dental examination, he will evaluate the tooth and decide whether it can be saved with restorative treatment. If this is not the case, he will talk with you about the necessity for extraction and explain all aspects of the procedure so you will have a clear idea of what to expect. Our doctor can also discuss treatments such as dental implants or other missing tooth replacement options that can provide results that look and feel as natural as possible.
How Is Tooth Extraction Performed?
A tooth extraction procedure can be performed in a number of ways, depending on the condition of the tooth and each patient’s individual needs. If the affected tooth has erupted through the gumline, it may not require oral surgery for successful extraction; however, some patients may need a simple surgical procedure to extract the tooth. In either case, tooth extraction procedures can typically be performed with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. For patients who have dental anxiety and would like to further ensure they experience the most relaxing treatment possible, Scottsdale Smile Center offers a variety of advanced sedation dentistry options that can be requested.
Tooth extractions are often relatively quick and efficient procedures. During your initial consultation, our dentist will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the treatment process.
What Type of Tooth Extraction Aftercare Is Needed?
Our dental team will provide you with a detailed guideline consisting of instructions on how to properly care for the area where the tooth was extracted. Patients who have the tooth surgically extracted may have stitches placed—these are often removed about one week following the procedure. Our doctors practice a minimally invasive, atraumatic surgical technique. This means that, oftentimes, stitches may not be necessary at all. Most patients clot immediately following an extraction and complications involving uncontrolled bleeding are generally pretty rare. However, we do provide extra gauze pads just in case. One trick we share with our patients is that a teabag (any kind) can be used at home to help stop bleeding. Simply close down on the teabag for approximately five minutes and the tannins from the tea can help establish a clot.
Patients should avoid smoking, alcohol consumption, and drinking through a straw for several days after the procedure. We also typically advise patients to keep the teeth that immediately surround the missing tooth as clean as possible to help minimize inflammation and the potential for infection to develop. The day following the extraction, we recommend patients gently rinse with warm saltwater 3-4 times per day for the first week following extraction. This will help sooth the area and promote healing. The opioid epidemic has prompted a slurry of new studies researching how to best manage dental pain. Interestingly, studies have consistently found that, for dental pain specifically, a combination of ibuprofen and Tylenol® is superior to opioid drugs like Vicodin® and Percocet® in terms of efficacy and establishing the best balance of benefit versus harm.
Like the opioid crisis has changed the way we prescribe controlled substance pain medications, increasing awareness to antibiotic resistance has changed the way we prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics are wonderful when we need them, but when overused, they do more harm than good. Our doctors practice with patients’ best interests in mind, which means recognizing that antibiotics are not always the answer.
To learn more about tooth extraction, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact Scottsdale Smile Center.