What To Expect When Having A Tooth Extracted

First, let’s face it: Life can happen to our teeth in the form of tooth damage, pain, or decay. While timely dental intervention can save a natural tooth in most cases, there are instances when tooth extraction is simply the best option to restore your smile’s health, beauty, and function. 

Second, we get it: Learning or suspecting you need a tooth extraction can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking. You may feel anxious about the procedure itself or worried about how a tooth extraction will change your smile’s appearance. In both cases, you can rest assured that modern tooth extraction doesn’t deserve to be associated with the expression “like pulling teeth.” In fact, when combined with restorative options, a strategic tooth extraction can be your key to long-lasting oral health and improved well-being. 

Though a broken, throbbing, loose, or painful tooth should always be evaluated by your dentist as soon as possible, you can empower your health with knowledge and cultivate peace of mind while you wait for your appointment. Here are answers to some of your questions about tooth extraction, including ways to replace missing teeth and restore your smile’s appearance.  

What is a tooth extraction? 

A tooth extraction is an outpatient dental procedure that’s performed under local, general, or intravenous anesthesia to remove the entire structure of the targeted tooth from its socket (known as the dental alveolus). The type of anesthesia and the length of the procedure will depend on the condition of your tooth and why your tooth needs to be extracted. While a visible tooth that’s intact is a relatively quick and straightforward procedure (known as a simple extraction), extracting a tooth that is impacted or broken will require a few extra steps (known as a surgical extraction). No matter what, you’ll receive the appropriate anesthesia you need to ensure your tooth extraction procedure is completely pain-free. 

Simple Extraction Procedure 

During a simple extraction, you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the oral tissues around the affected tooth. Though you won’t feel pain while under local anesthesia, you may experience a pressure sensation. If you want to eliminate all sensations or if you’re anxious about the tooth extraction procedure, your dentist can offer sedation dentistry techniques to increase your calm and comfort. Once you are completely comfortable, your dentist will use a special instrument (called a luxator) to delicately lift and loosen the targeted tooth, which will then be gently removed with dental forceps.

Surgical Extraction Procedure 

During a surgical extraction, you will receive both local and intravenous anesthesia to create a relaxing experience free from pain or sensation. Once you are comfortable and prepped, your dentist will make a small incision in your gums in order to fully access the tooth that’s being extracted. Once your dentist can access the targeted tooth, the procedure follows the same steps as the simple extraction.

Aftercare and Healing

Your dentist will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your extraction site, including the use of ice packs, prescription or over-the-counter pain medications, and a diet of soft foods chewed away from the extraction site. To avoid dry sockets and promote healing, your dentist will also advise you to completely avoid straws and spitting until the extraction site closes, which usually takes about two weeks. 

Why does a tooth have to be removed?

Though your dentist will always work to preserve your natural tooth, there are times when a tooth extraction is the best step to take for your smile’s health and longevity. A tooth may be extracted due to damage from an accident or sports injury, advanced gum disease, severe tooth decay, tooth impaction, or infection (also known as a tooth abscess). In orthodontic cases, a tooth may be extracted to prevent overcrowding or to make room to improve your teeth’s alignment.  

If your dentist has told you that you need a tooth extraction due to an infection, damage, gum disease, or decay, it’s normal to feel taken aback by the news. You may suddenly feel acutely aware of how much you depend on your teeth to smile, chew, and speak or worry that your smile will never again look complete. Some patients may also experience a sense of remorse about not taking better care of their gums or teeth or for not wearing a mouth guard during their sport or activity. Know that your experience is normal and totally valid. Treat yourself with gentleness and compassion, and then take a look at the hope that’s on the horizon for replacing an extracted tooth. 

What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?    

Saying goodbye to a tooth isn’t always easy, though saying hello to your tooth replacement options can definitely help smooth the transition. Modern tooth replacement options for a single tooth, which include a porcelain bridge or dental implant, are life-like, durable, and long-lasting. Take a look at their similarities and differences, then talk to your dentist about which option would be best for your situation and needs.

Porcelain Bridge

A porcelain bridge is a prosthetic porcelain tooth (known as a pontic) that is suspended between two porcelain crowns to replace the visible part of a missing tooth. The porcelain crowns are securely bonded to the teeth that neighbor the space left by an extracted tooth, effectively “bridging the gap” and restoring your smile’s beauty and fullness.

Dental Implants

A dental implant replaces both the visible part of the tooth (known as the crown) and the part of the tooth that’s below the gumline (known as the root). Though tooth roots aren’t visible, they actually make up about two-thirds of the tooth’s overall structure. Alongside allowing blood and nerve supply to enter each tooth, tooth roots securely anchor teeth in place and transfer the force of chewing throughout the entire jawbone. When a tooth is lost, the surrounding jawbone can begin to shrink, which can cause undesired shifts and changes to the alignment of your jaws and teeth.

Unlike any other tooth replacement option, a dental implant replicates the tooth’s entire structure (crown and root), which can help you keep your jawbone strong, full, and healthy. In some cases, a dental implant post can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction, accelerating your process for tooth replacement.  

Comfortable and Compassionate Tooth Extraction in Plano, TX

No matter your reason for needing a tooth extraction, Dr. Harrison and the entire Millennium Dental team are here to help you have a positive and empowering dental experience from the very beginning. If you have a tooth that’s broken, loose, painful, or throbbing, don’t wait. Contact Millennium Dental ASAP to give your teeth the care they need to be healthy, beautiful, and pain-free.