Tooth extraction can be defined as the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone.
Your dentist always aims to save your tooth; however there could be circumstances wherein your tooth has to be extracted.
In the early days of human history many of the illnesses were attributed to tooth infections. Since there was no antibiotics in those days tooth extraction was performed for curing the illness.
Different tools were being used for extracting tooth at various points of time. The first one was invented by Guy de Chauliac in the fourteenth century and this was known as the dental pelican. This was the main tool that was being used until 18th century wherein dental key replaced dental pelican as an extraction tool. Dental key is replaced by modern forceps in 20th century and this is the main tool used at present for tooth extraction. Dental extractions vary widely and to facilitate different types of extractions a wide variety of instruments are being used.
Reasons for extracting tooth
Normally, whenever there is a tooth breakage or tooth damage due to tooth decay the dentist try and repair the tooth by various means such as filling, fixing a crown etc. However, there are times at which the tooth damage is so much that it cannot be repaired and under such circumstances he has no choice other than extracting the tooth. This is the common reason for tooth extraction.
In addition many illnesses and drugs necessitate tooth extraction because they weaken the immune system and cause infection of the tooth. These are – cancer drugs, dental caries, gum diseases, extra teeth, fractured tooth, organ transplant, orthodontic treatment, radiation treatment and wisdom teeth.
Types of extraction
There are two types of tooth extractions – simple and surgical.
- Simple extractions – these are performed on teeth that are externally visible in the mouth and can easily be done by general dentists. The dentist gives a local anesthetic injection before he extracts the tooth.
- Surgical extractions – these are performed on teeth that are not possible to be accessed easily; this could happen if the teeth are broken under the gum line or partial eruption of the teeth. In such a case the surgeon has to cut and pull back the gums thereby providing access to removing the bone or a piece of the tooth. Surgical extractions require a specialist oral surgeon.
Prior to extraction of your teeth your oral surgeon or dentist will find out about your medical and dental histories; also he might take X-ray of the affected area. He also might prescribe antibiotics if you have infected tooth, weak immune system or any medical problems.
- For simple extractions your dentist might prescribe OTC anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen.
- For surgical extractions your dentist might prescribe pain medications for a few days and switch over to NSAID.
- Once your tooth is extracted your dentist will make you bite a gauze piece for facilitating clotting and you must not disturb this clot on the wound.
- You have to use ice packs to contain the swelling after surgery. Use warm compresses when your jaw becomes stiff.
- Most of the stitches will disappear within one or two weeks. Warm salt water rinsing might dissolve the stitches. Left over stitches will be removed by your dentist.
- Avoid smoking or spitting after the surgery because this could remove the clot out of the tooth hole thereby increasing the bleeding and resulting in dry socket.
The risk factors due to tooth extraction are – infection, extended bleeding, swelling, dry socket, nerve injury, tooth damage, incomplete extraction, fractured jaw, and hole in the sinus, sore jaw muscles or joint and numbness in the lower lip.