Dental extractions, or tooth pulling, are among the most straightforward and best ways to get relief from a toothache. An extraction, as the name implies, involves removing the tooth. If the tooth has become severely infected, or your pulp has died, extraction may be the only option. Depending on the tooth and situation, the extraction may be simple or more complicated – either way, the dentist will make the process as pain-free as possible.
Simple extractions, also known as pulling, don’t take long to complete. The dentist will numb you with local anesthesia before he starts, so you won’t feel a thing. Depending on the tooth, pulling it will normally take just a few minutes once you have been numbed. Once completed, the dentist will place gauze in your mouth to bite on and you will be free to go.
These types of extractions, the simple extractions, are the most common in the world of dentistry. During a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the gums around the socket so as to be able to remove the tooth. He will grasp the tooth with forceps and move it from side to side until he can get it to break free of the socket. Once free of the socket it is easy to remove the tooth.
A thin piece of soft tissue holds teeth to the bone. This soft tissue is known as the periodontal ligament. The dentist removes the tooth by breaking this tissue. The best way to remove a tooth by pulling is to rock the tooth from side to side, enlarging the socket in the bone and breaking the ligament that helps hold the tooth in place.
Unfortunately, not all teeth can be pulled. The tooth may have become so decayed or broken off that the dentist has nothing to grasp above the gum line. In this case, the dentist will need to perform a more complicated extraction, to get the tooth out below the gum line, as he won’t be able to use the standard method of pulling and rocking.
This type of extraction involves making an incision in the gums around the tooth, and raising the flap cut to expose the bone. Once the bone is exposed, there may be enough of the tooth exposed for the dentist to grab and remove it using the pulling method. In many cases however, the tooth will be embedded in the bone, meaning that the dentist will not be able to pull the tooth out.
With teeth that are imbedded in the bone, the dentist will need to use a drill and chip away at the bone to get to the tooth. This is known as cutting the tooth out, and is quite a common procedure with impacted teeth or teeth that are severely decayed. Once the dentist has cut his way to the tooth and removed it, he will sew back the flap of skin that he cut to get to the tooth. The flap of skin and the socket will heal over time – provided you take care of it.
Dental extractions are a very common procedure for dentists who perform them on a daily basis. Oral surgeons are the best for extractions, as extractions are all they do. All types of extractions, not just the most complex, will take time to heal. As long as you take care of your extraction site, you’ll avoid common pitfalls such as dry sockets and other mishaps. They can be a bit painful immediately after the procedure – after a little while you’ll start to feel a lot better for having had the tooth or teeth removed.