Your teeth are the strongest substance in your body, and they put up with a significant amount of daily wear and tear. While the teeth are strong, they are not invincible. The teeth can still be faced with issues such as decay and physical damage. When these issues arise, treatment is needed right away. Minor damage can often be restored with cosmetic fixes, while more serious damage can often be restored with treatments such as crowns. However, if the damage is extensive, there may be not a restorative treatment that can save your teeth. In such cases, extractions may be your best solution. Goichi Shiotsu, DDS can help.
What Happens if Damage Goes Untreated?
When your teeth are affected by decay or damage, their structure becomes compromised. The teeth are at risk for further damage. The damage can even extend into the inner layers of your teeth, providing a direct path for bacteria to get inside. Once the bacteria get inside the teeth, they are then able to begin attacking the soft tissue known as pulp. The pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves, becomes irritated and subsequently inflamed, which can cause significant pain. Infections in the tooth can spread out through the root into the bloodstream, causing serious health complications.
How Do I Know if I Need an Extraction?
When your teeth are damaged, treatment is needed immediately. We first perform a thorough oral exam to determine the severity of the situation. This involves a visual exam, where we look at the teeth and your gums, and dental X-rays. X-rays allow us to see any damage that might be present below the gum line. All treatment options will be explored. However, if no restorative treatments will be effective, an extraction becomes the best course of action.
Reasons you may need a tooth extraction include:
Large cracks that extend below the gum line, cracks completely below the gum line, or teeth that have split completely in half.
Excessive tooth decay.
Overcrowding, in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
Types of Extractions
There are two types of extractions. The first is a straightforward extraction called a simple extraction. This type of extraction is done under a local anesthetic. The tooth is gently but firmly rocked back and forth in its socket, which widens the periodontal ligament. The tooth becomes loose, and we are then able to lift if free.
In more complex situations, such as impacted teeth, teeth blocked by bone, or teeth that are broken below the gum line, a surgical extraction is used. This type of extraction is done under a local anesthetic and sedation. Small incisions are made in the gums, exposing the root of the tooth and the surrounding bone. The tooth is then removed. If it is broken, we clear away every fragment. In some cases, we may need to break the tooth to completely remove it. Once the tooth is removed, the gums are sutured closed.
Tooth Extraction Post-Operative Instructions
Following tooth extraction you may experience bleeding, oozing, soreness or moderate to severe pain.
Bleeding should stop by 8-12 hours following the extraction. If you experience significant bleeding past this time please call our office immediately. Oozing of pink fluid for 1-2 days is normal.
Discomfort following the tooth extraction is best managed with a mild analgesic like Tylenol, Advil or Aleve. If you experience severe pain that lasts more than 2-3 days after your extraction please call our office.
Healing should be as smooth as possible following tooth extraction. It is important to not disturb the extraction site. Remember to eat a soft diet and avoid vigorous rinsing for 24 hours following the extraction.
After 24 hours rinse with strong warm salt water for 1 minute a couple of times daily for 3-4 days. This will reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth and will promote better healing.
In the event of significant tooth damage, an extraction, followed by a tooth replacement, may be the best option for restoring your oral health. Call Goichi Shiotsu, DDS today to learn more at (206) 232-3600.
Goichi Shiotsu, DDS
Mercer Island, Washington
Location 2825 80th Ave SE, Suite 3 Mercer Island, WA 98040-2985 Hours: Tuesday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm (206) 232-3600