Preparing For Tooth Extraction And Risk Factors
Tooth extraction is always a serious decision, but not done on the whim of your dentist. In some cases, it is even a matter of life and death, but for the majority of patients it is the only possible way to get rid of pain and discomfort. For those who happened to find themselves in such a situation, we would like to offer this useful information on the issue of tooth extraction.
What is Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction is the simple or surgical removal of an affected tooth from its socket. The main tooth extraction tool is a forceps, introduced only in the middle of 20th century.
However, there is a wide variety of this type of dental procedure, some of which require the use of additional instruments. It is certain that your dentist always tries to save your tooth. However, there is are a number of medical indications which leave your dentist with no choice but to extract your tooth.
What are the Medical Indications for Tooth Extraction?
There are a number of dental conditions when your dentist finds it impossible to save your teeth and suggests that you need to have one or a couple of them removed. This is usually relevant when there are misaligned, crowded, extra, non-functional, cracked, or broken teeth. Dental extraction is also indicated for the teeth which do not allow for root canal treatment to be performed, or those ones affected by advanced periodontal disease or extensive decay (dental caries).
In addition, impacted and misaligned wisdom teeth are also traditional candidates for removal. Furthermore, tooth extraction might be required in order to make more room in the patient’s oral cavity for some types of orthodontic treatment to be performed, such as braces, or the fitting of fixed or movable dentures.
And finally, there are some health conditions and medical drugs which contribute to the need for tooth extraction, as they weaken the body’s immune system and tooth enamel, causing infection to enter the affected teeth. These are cancer and drugs associated with it, as well as radiation treatment, organ transplantation and uncontrolled diabetes.
What are the Types of Dental Extraction?
There are two methods according to which teeth are removed: a simple procedure and a surgical procedure.
A simple tooth extraction is carried out on the externally visible and easily accessible teeth. This type of dental removal can be performed by your local general dentist without any apparent difficulties. In the case of the simple tooth extraction, you will have a local anesthetic injection before your tooth is removed.
A surgical tooth extraction is a much more delicate and complicated procedure. It is carried out on impacted teeth or teeth that are broken under the gum line, which cannot be easily accessed. In such cases, an oral surgeon makes an incision in the gum and pulls back the gum, in such a way to provide access to the piece of the affected tooth or a jaw bone.
The surgical extraction is performed under a local anesthesia with the use of some sedative medications to relieve pain and anxiety. During this procedure, you will feel just some light pressure, but no pain during the surgery. Please note that young children and patients with specific medical or psychological conditions generally require general anesthesia to have this kind of dental surgery performed.
Preparing for tooth extraction
Your dentist will first take an X-ray to determine the best way to extract the tooth. It is important you divulge your medical and dental history to your dentist, along with the medicines (both prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements) you take. You may have a panoramic X-ray which pictures all your teeth at once if you are extracting your wisdom teeth. The X-ray discloses various things that help with an extraction, such as:
- how your wisdom teeth are in relation to the other teeth;
- the relationship of the upper teeth with your sinuses;
- the relationship of the lower teeth to a nerve in the jawbone called the inferior alveolar nerve, which gives sensation to your chin and lower jaw, teeth and lips;
- the presence of any infections, tumors or bone disease.
You may or may not be prescribed antibiotics to take before or after the surgery; your dentist will determine this. Antibiotics are usually prescribed if:
- you already had some infection at the time of the surgery;
- your body’s immune system is weak;
- you are on special medications;
- you will be undergoing a long surgery to extract your tooth.
It is important that you do not drink or eat anything for about six to eight hours before the tooth extraction. It is also not advised to smoke on the day of the surgery as it increases the risk of a painful condition called dry socket.
On the day of the extraction, you will then be given an intravenous anesthesia ranging from conscious sedation to general anesthesia. However, if you have a cold or stuffy nose before the surgery, your dentist may avoid anesthesia until you have recovered from the cold. As you have had anesthesia before the surgery, you need to arrange for someone to drive you home, and stay with you after the extraction. Your dentist will also give you post-surgery instructions which you have to follow thoroughly.
What are the Risk Factors associated with Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction is usually associated with a number of the risk factors, such as the following:
A dry socket problem might develop in approximately 3- 4% of all dental extractions. It develops when a blood clot completely fails to form in the hole of the tooth or breaks off too early. This leads to the underlying jaw bone being exposed to air and foods. Pain and the bad taste symptom usually manifest themselves on the third day after surgery.
Extensive bleeding and infection might also develop after the tooth extraction. The first is usually successfully prevented by taking coagulation medications during the removal. You are also not likely to get a dental infection if your immune system is healthy.
The other tooth extraction risk factors include swelling of the face and gums, damage to nearby teeth, injury to the tooth’s nerve, incomplete extraction hole in the sinus, jaw muscle soreness, a fractured jaw, chin, or lower lip.
In order to avoid these complications, take your time to go through the detailed pre-extraction examination, which must include not only an evaluation of the condition of your teeth, jaw bone and gums, but also an investigation of your medical history. In almost every case, the extraction of a painful tooth will bring long-awaited relief!