While the mere thought of a tooth extraction can induce fear and anxiety in most people, many tooth extraction cases are necessary to maintain your overall oral health. Thankfully, Hanbit Chi, DDS, and Sarah Park, DDS, at Alki Dental, serving Seattle, Washington, and surrounding areas, have years of experience performing this delicate procedure with care and precision. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, call or book an appointment online at the West Seattle office for a consultation today.
A tooth extraction, also known as exodontia, is a procedure in which a tooth is completely removed from its socket. There are two types of extractions. The first is a straightforward extraction where a numbing agent (or sedation) is applied, and the affected tooth is “pulled.” The other, known as a surgical extraction, occurs when the tooth is impacted or fails to erupt.
First, your dentist applies a numbing agent to the affected tooth and surrounding gum area. Sometimes, a sedative is administered for patients with anxiety or depending on the severity of the case. Then, using specialized tools, consistent pressure is applied in an upward motion as the dentist gently loosens the affected tooth. Other times, an incision is made in the gums to access the impacted tooth or reach pieces of broken teeth.
The socket is cleaned and disinfected once your dentist removes the tooth. If needed, stitches are applied to promote healing. In some cases, your dentist will also place a dental bone graft to prevent bone loss in your jaw.
Over time, a missing tooth can cause your teeth to shift and jawbone to weaken. To prevent or avoid this, your dentist may suggest replacing the missing tooth with an implant, a partial bridge, or dentures.
Your dentist will do anything in their power to save your natural tooth. Often, tooth extractions are a last resort when all other options, such as crowns or fillings, have been exhausted. If other treatment methods aren’t viable, an extraction may be necessary to avoid further damage. Most extractions are needed to remove impacted wisdom teeth. Other reasons may include excessive tooth decay, trauma, infection, or gum disease.
The recovery period is minimal, and most people feel back to normal after a few days. Following the procedure, the dentist will provide you with gauze to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped or slowed down, you can remove the gauze. Gently rinse with antimicrobial mouthwash or warm salt water to keep the area clean and promote healing.
The dentist may also prescribe you antibiotics or pain relievers, which you should take as directed. Avoid hard or crunchy food for the first few days. Rest is recommended following the procedure, allowing the body to heal.
To learn more about extractions, call the office or use the online booking tool today.