A tooth or dental extraction or exodontia is a procedure of pulling out of a tooth from its socket in the jaw bone for a number of reasons. Although there can be various causes for emergency extractions of teeth, the most common grounds are dental trauma or decay causing toothache and leading to teeth too damaged to be repaired or restored. Tooth extraction can also be needed in case of orthodontia which is a procedure of teeth alignment. When the mouth is crowded or in simple words when the teeth are too big for the mouth, one of more teeth need to be extracted for a perfect alignment. In some cases, emergency extractions are required as wisdom teeth are unable to erupt and grow through the gum and impacted causing infections.
How is the Procedure of Tooth Extraction Performed?
Simple Extractions: Often performed under local anesthesia, tooth extraction in most cases is a simple straightforward procedure where the person is awake and conscious throughout the procedure without feeling the pain or sensation in the mouth due to the local anesthetic. However, the force of the elevator and dental forceps can be felt at times though it is minor and vague.
Surgical Extractions: Unusually done under general anesthetic, surgical tooth extraction is required for more complicated cases such as a tooth concealed beneath a bone. It requires a surgical drill to cut the gum to make way for the tooth. Gums are stitched back to their normal position after the procedure is over.
Latest Technology in Tooth Extraction: Dental drills and scalpels are the most common instruments used for tooth extraction, however, new technologies such as electrosurgery and dental lasers are increasingly becoming popular. Electrosurgery is the use of electrical current and controlled heat to perform the procedure while laser technique uses high-energy light beams for the surgical extraction. Both new technologies ensure precision reducing the scope of any damage to adjacent area. The amount of discomfort and bleeding is also significantly low while the healing time is much lesser when compared to traditional methods of tooth extraction. On a downside, these technologies come at a higher cost and these methods cannot be applied directly to the teeth to extract them.
How to prepare for a tooth extraction: Tooth extraction may sound like a common dental procedure, however, some preparations are needed before the tooth is finally pulled out. The dental and medical history of the individual is required to determine and eliminate the chances of a complication during or post the extraction. For example, certain medicines can slow down the blood clotting process or allergic to a certain composition. X-Rays need to be taken to determine the exact problem and approach towards it. A medical history is needed to understand how the body will react to anesthetic or any other medicine. Depending on the case, antibiotics can also be prescribed before and after surgery. At times, sedation is required for extractions and in such cases, someone must accompany the person undergoing the procedure.
How to recover: Post extraction bleeding is normal. Applying pressure with the help of a gauze swab for about 30 minutes leads to blood clotting in the socket. Talking may disturb the pressure, therefore, refrain from speaking until bleeding stops. Although it may take 10-15 days to fully recover, the chances bleeding reduce after 24 hours as healing progresses. Ice packs or cold compresses are helpful in case of swelling. Jaw joint pain is a possible side effect of tooth extraction due to the pressure on jaw while performing the extraction. Jaw pain can also be a result of keeping the mouth open for long during the procedure. Warm compresses can cause relief if there’s sore or stiff jaw after extraction. Here are some tips to recover smoothly after exodontia:
- Sleep with face upward and head elevated to avoid pressure on the jaw.
- Don’t rinse your mouth for 24 hours after the extractions. After a day, use lukewarm water to gently rinse your mouth for at least 5 days.
- Be careful of not hitting the extraction site while brushing your teeth.
- Stay away from too hot or cold food items and avoid crunchy stuff for a while.
- Avoid any activity that may cause too much of jerk to dislodge the blood clot.
- Avoid smoking and drinking until you have fully recovered.