A dental extraction is the removal of tooth from the mouth. It is also known as exodontia. A tooth extraction is required when the damage to the tooth is too extensive and no other dental procedure can help to restore the tooth. Tooth extractions are also done in preparation for orthodontic procedures such as, placement of braces. The most common reasons for extractions are:
- Severe tooth decay or infection or acute chronic alveolar abscess
- Extra teeth which are blocking other teeth from coming in
- Fractured teeth
- Teeth that cannot be restored endodontically
- Malformed, supplementary or supernumerary teeth.
- For cosmetic purposes in order to improve appearance
- The cost of dental extractions re reduced compared to other treatments.
Extractions are classified as either simple or surgical. Simple extractions are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth, usually under local anesthetic and require the use of instruments to grasp and lift the part that is visible. Dental forceps are used with a steady and slow pressure to successfully remove the affected tooth.
Surgical extraction is used when the tooth has not erupted fully, or is under the gum line. A surgical extraction requires an incision to be made in the gum surrounding the tooth, and is usually performed by a dental surgeon with the help of a local or general anesthesia.
Complications may arise from tooth extractions and they include:
- Infections: if the dentist discovers that the patient may be at risk of infections, he/she prescribes antibiotic treatment.
- Prolonged bleeding: It is normal to bleed after a tooth extraction, especially if the blood clot in the area has not had a chance to fully form. If bleeding continues profusely, the patient should see a dentist as they have a variety of means at their disposal to address bleeding.
- Swelling: The amount of swelling is determined by the extent of surgery done to remove the tooth. The swelling is expected to go down within a few hours and it can be managed with medications.
- Dry socket: This condition is very painful and it normally happens with the extraction of the lower wisdom teeth. It happens when the blood clot in the affected area is disrupted. This condition can be magnified by poor blood supply in the area.
- Nerve damage: This complication results when a nerve is too close to the tooth extraction site.