As an adult, missing teeth can be a source of great embarrassment and discomfort. However, tooth extractions are sometimes necessary to ensure overall health. Fortunately, the Boston cosmetic dentists of Dental Associates of New England offer tooth extraction services and restorative dental procedures to replace the missing tooth, if needed. If you are faced with tooth extraction, we welcome you to schedule a consultation to discuss your treatment options. Tooth extractions may be necessary for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of the possible situations in which a tooth extraction may be required.
- Decay: Badly decayed teeth may be too damaged to save with a dental filling or crown. When the tooth is too weakened by decay, it may be necessary to remove it.
- Trauma: Decay is not the only way teeth are damaged. Trauma such as falling and breaking or cracking a tooth can lead to the need for a tooth extraction.
- Broken tooth: Broken teeth, whether from decay or trauma, may be beyond saving with a dental crown. Often times, severely broken teeth must be pulled.
- Crowding: Tooth extraction is commonly performed on people undergoing orthodontic treatment. If the teeth are too large for the mouth, they may become crowded. In order to allow for proper alignment with orthodontics, it may be necessary to remove some teeth.
- Wisdom teeth: Removal of the wisdom teeth may be necessary if they cause pain, are impacted, or will result in tooth crowding.
- Infection: Infection can stem from tooth decay. Sometimes the infection reaches the pulp and nerve tissue within the root canal, causing pain and further decay. In cases of severe infection, the entire tooth must be removed.
- Gum disease: Gum disease, an infection of the gum tissue, and can extend to the bone. Untreated gum disease can lead to loose teeth. If the gum tissues, ligaments, and bone can no longer support the teeth, extraction may be the only option.
Recovering after a Tooth Extraction
Tooth extractions are a form of oral surgery, and as with all surgery, there are certain risks involved as well as steps you will need to take to ensure a proper recovery. One of the biggest risks of tooth extractions is a condition called dry socket. Dry socket occurs when the protective blood clot formed in the space of the missing tooth dislodges. Dry socket is very painful and will need to be treated by your dentist.
Another potential risk of tooth extraction is infection. Gently rinsing with warm salt water can help reduce the risk of infection. Your oral surgeon will discuss the potential risks prior to your tooth extraction and provide a list of instructions to help with your recovery. Here are a just a few tips to aid in your recovery:
- Apply an ice bag to the cheek near the extraction site to help reduce swelling.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can lead to dry sockets and prolong recovery time.
- Do not use a straw for at least 24 hours. Like smoking, drinking from a straw can cause dry sockets.
- Eat soft foods and avoid chewing food around the extraction site. Avoid hard or crunchy foods, as these can irritate your gums as they heal.
- Practice proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and brushing your tongue, but avoid the extraction site to avoid spreading bacteria as it heals.