A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from the surrounding bone and gum.

Extracting, or “pulling,” a tooth in adults is done for a variety of reasons. Often, extractions are necessary because a tooth is so severely damaged from decay or trauma that it cannot be saved. Sometimes the nerve in a tooth dies and the tooth, as well as the gum and bone around it, become severely infected. Other times people’s mouths are not large enough to fit all their teeth, as is often the case with wisdom teeth.

Extracting a tooth is beneficial when it eliminates existing pain and infection. An extraction can also provide the space for your teeth to line up properly and allow your bone and gum to be healthy.

Both a healthy mouth and a healthy bite are important for your long term overall wellness

The Procedure

Tooth Extraction Appointment involves: finalizing the consent to proceed, local anesthetic numbing, careful tooth removal, forming a clot to stop the bleeding and providing post-op instructions.

In order for your body to heal well, you should minimize your activity for a period of time after having an extraction. Your dentist will recommend the appropriate time period to you. As your body heals, a blood clot will form within the extraction socket. This blood clot will eventually turn into bone and must be kept in place if possible. Until the area has healed over, there is a risk that certain activities can disturb the blood clot, hurt the extraction site and slow down the healing process.

Alternative Treatments

If a tooth is broken down due to decay or trauma, a dentist may be able to restore the tooth instead of extracting it. If a tooth is infected but adequate tooth structure and bone support remain, it may be saved with a root canal treatment and perhaps a crown. Sometimes periodontal surgery can be performed around a compromised tooth to reduce disease and prevent the need for a tooth extraction.

Abnormal Outcomes and Risks

The risks of having a tooth extracted include additional pain, infection or nerve damage. Although a certain amount of discomfort is expected, your dentist will recommend the appropriate medication to minimise pain after your tooth is extracted. The process of having a tooth extracted can cause bacteria in your mouth, or from the infected tooth, to enter your bloodstream and cause infection in other parts of your body. People who have artificial heart valves or artificial joints may be prone to infection by these bacteria. Antibiotics may need to be taken prior to your tooth extraction to manage this risk.

The areas where a tooth was extracted may become infected after the extraction. This area may also develop a painful condition called “dry socket.” Both an infection and a dry socket are conditions that must be evaluated by your dentist in order for them to be effectively treated.

Some extractions have a higher risk of causing damage to the nerves that carry feeling to your face and lip. Most often this nerve damage will feel like parts of your face are numb or tingling. Usually this sensation resolves within six months of having your extraction. Occasionally the nerve damage is permanent.

The process of extracting a tooth may cause the tooth or adjacent teeth to chip and break.  During healing, or sometime later, bone or tooth chips may become visible at the gum-line, and these may or may not require further removal.

Upper back teeth can be associated with the Sinus and are at an increased risk of sinus complications including a hole from the sinus into the mouth. This may sometimes require referral to a specialist Maxillofacial Surgeon at additional cost.

Please discuss your dental concerns with our experienced Downtown Los Angeles dentist.

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