OUCH! My Tooth Hurts. Does It Need To Be Pulled?
Anyone who has experienced tooth pain knows how excruciating it can be. The unrelenting throbbing can compromise your ability to concentrate on even the simplest of tasks. A dull achiness can make it difficult to chew food and sleep through the night. When one or more teeth are experiencing alignment issues or have been severely damaged and cannot be repaired, an extraction may be in order. While most people do not look forward to this procedure, in some cases it is the only way to eliminate the cause of the pain.
The dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest strive to make patients as comfortable as possible before, during, and after an extraction procedure. Given their vast experience, they are able to expertly determine when it is necessary to pull a tooth in order to deliver quick and complete pain relief and avoid additional complications that may arise if left untreated.
Why teeth are extracted
In general, it is best to avoid considering tooth extraction as an option until it has been determined that the tooth is not able to be saved. There are several reasons why this may be the case. Teeth that are severely decayed or damaged, especially those that are so badly chipped or broken that they are past the point of being repaired, may be pulled. In such cases, it often is possible to restore an aesthetically pleasing appearance and correct function to the mouth by replacing the tooth with a dental implant or bridge.
It is common practice to remove one or more of the four wisdom teeth that grow in the back of the mouth behind the upper and lower molars. These teeth usually appear during adolescence through the early 20s. They frequently grow in crooked or impact other teeth, which can cause pain and swelling to occur. Those issues can lead to a required extraction.
Types of extractions
If you experience tooth pain, it’s important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible with the dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest. They will read through your dental and medical records, learn about any medications you take, and allergies that you may have before examining and taking x-rays of the area from which the pain is emanating. Once it is determined the cause of the issue and that one or more teeth need to be pulled, anesthesia will be administered to numb the area around the tooth. If a patient is especially nervous about the procedure, other sedation options may be used to help make them feel calmer and more comfortable.
When teeth are visible above the gumline, a simple extraction usually can be performed. To begin, the tooth is loosened with a special dental tool called an elevator. Then, dental forceps are used to pull out the tooth. It is common to place gauze in the empty socket, which patients will be instructed to bite down on until the bleeding has stopped. Stitches usually are not needed to close the gums. Most patients are able to leave the dental office as soon as the procedure is completed.
Oftentimes, wisdom teeth are not easily accessible in the mouth, particularly if they have not yet erupted through the surface of the gums. Performed under general anesthesia, a surgical extraction requires that incisions be made in the gums in order to access the teeth. When teeth are large, it may be easier to extract them once they are broken into smaller pieces. Then the gums will be sutured closed. To prevent infection from developing, patients may be prescribed antibiotics to take before and after a surgical extraction.
While it is normal to feel some pressure, the anesthesia used during both simple and surgical extractions should prevent patients from experiencing pain during the procedures. In most cases, it takes about an hour to complete a simple extraction, although that may increase if more than one tooth is pulled.
Recovering from an extraction
Some pain and soreness are commonly experienced for as much as a week after an extraction procedure. It is extremely important to follow the post-care instructions that the dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest will provide to you. Pain medication may be prescribed to help relieve discomfort and reduce swelling. Applying ice packs to the cheeks also may be beneficial. Rinsing twice daily with a mild saltwater solution can help prevent infection from developing. Until you are advised to do otherwise, avoid brushing the extraction site.
If you experience excessive bleeding, contact the dental office immediately. Blood clots will form as part of the healing process and should not be removed. If they do fall out, the bone beneath may be exposed, resulting in a painful condition known as a dry socket. In order to prevent infection from developing, be sure to call the office at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest so that proper treatment can begin promptly.
To help prevent food particles from getting into the extraction site, patients are advised to avoid hard-to-chew foods, as well as to chew on the opposite side of their mouth from the extraction area. In the days following the procedure, it is a good idea to avoid alcohol and extreme temperature foods (hot, cold, spicy), as these can interfere with the effects of pain medication and irritate the area as it heals. Consume easy-to-eat foods until you are comfortable resuming your normal diet.
Replacing your tooth
When a tooth is pulled due to damage or decay, the majority of patients will want to have it replaced with a restorative device such as an implant. The dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest will be able to advise you of what options will best suit your aesthetic and lifestyle needs. When one or more teeth are pulled to correct an overcrowding issue, it is not necessary to replace them. Over time, your remaining teeth likely will shift into place and fill up the open space.
The best way to learn whether youth tooth pain can be alleviated with an extraction procedure is to schedule an appointment with the highly skilled dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest. They are dedicated to guiding patients safely through this process to quickly and effectively restore their dental health and eliminate their pain.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.