Maintaining good oral health is important to keep the mouth working well, and because of that, sometimes tooth extraction is necessary. When a tooth becomes so riddled with decay that it is no longer salvageable, tooth extraction is the recommended course of action to prevent this decay from spreading to other teeth.
For patients that live in the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake areas who are struggling with tooth issues, our doctors can determine whether tooth extraction is the right solution.
What Is Tooth Extraction?
Quite simply, tooth extraction is when a tooth is pulled. The process is relatively straightforward. Our doctors will identify the problem tooth and then carefully work on extracting it by wiggling it back and forth. This expands the socket and loosens the root’s hold on the gums so that the entire tooth can be pulled out all at once.
In some cases, the tooth is too firmly anchored inside the socket to be pulled out in one piece. If this is the case, our doctors will use a different technique called sectioning. This involves cutting the tooth into smaller pieces and pulling them out one at a time.
Reasons for Tooth Extraction
Our doctors will do everything they can to preserve the teeth in a patient’s mouth. That being said, sometimes, there is just no way to save a tooth. The following are some of the most common reasons for tooth extraction:
- Severe tooth decay, which is when decay has reached the center of the tooth called the pulp. While a root canal can sometimes help clear away the infection, if this procedure isn’t effective, our doctors may recommend tooth extraction to prevent the decay from spreading.
- Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, which causes the gums to shrink and become infected. This loosens the teeth so much that they may no longer be stable in the mouth.
- Impaction, which is when the tooth has not been able to emerge from the gums because it is tilted at an angle or completely sideways. This often happens with wisdom teeth.
- Overcrowding, which is when teeth are pushed out of position because there isn’t room for them to sit properly. This is common for Virginia Beach and Chesapeake patients undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten their smile.
- Trauma or accident, which can cause damage to the tooth to the point where it is no longer salvageable.
What the Tooth Extraction Process Is Like
All tooth extractions take place at our doctors’ Virginia Beach and Chesapeake offices to make things convenient for the patient. The first step in the process is to numb the tooth, bone, and gum tissue with a local anesthetic so that the patient won’t feel any pain or discomfort. While patients won’t be able to feel the tooth being removed, they may feel some pressure as our doctors push and pull on the tooth.
Next, our doctors will use a variety of tools to help the extraction go smoothly. These might include:
- Extraction forceps, which are like a set of pliers that are used to grab the tooth and pull it out.
- Dental elevators, which resemble a narrow screwdriver and are used to wedge under the gums to force the tooth out.
Once the tooth is gone, our doctors will clean out the empty socket to remove any infected tissue and help the area heal better. They’ll also rinse the area with a saline solution to clean out tooth or bone fragments. If any bits of bone are sticking out, they’ll file these down so they won’t cause future problems. Finally, if the wound is large, they’ll use stitches to close it up and then place gauze over the extraction site.
Recovery From a Tooth Extraction
After the tooth extraction, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake patients can expect a bit of soreness. This can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication. There may also be a fair bit of bleeding, but this can be controlled by applying pressure to the site with gauze.
Patients will need to stick to a soft or liquid foods diet for the first couple of days after the procedure. They also can’t smoke or drink from a straw, as this increases the risk of dry socket. Dry socket is a painful condition where the blood clot in the socket is dislodged.
Choose Tooth Extraction From Our Doctors in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake
Tooth extraction isn’t something you want to think about, but if it’s something you need, don’t hesitate to choose the doctors at Coastal Virginia Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for your care. They have years of experience providing Virginia Beach and Chesapeake patients with skilled treatment.