Dr. Joseph Haack may recommend extracting a tooth for one of several reasons.
The tooth may have suffered damage beyond repair, or may have an infection that the doctor needs to remove before it can spread.
You may need one or more teeth removed before orthodontic treatment or to prevent overcrowding as adult teeth erupt. Wisdom teeth can become infected or impacted.
Whatever the reason, Dr. Haack can perform the extraction you need and prepare your mouth for restorations, if necessary.
To learn more about dental extractions, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Haack, call our Alexandria, MN dental office today.
Reasons Why the Doctor Performs Extractions
While many extractions involve severely damaged teeth, other situations exist that may necessitate the removal of one or more teeth. The most common reasons Dr. Haack performs extractions include:
- Overcrowding – Occasionally, younger patients see their adult teeth erupt before they have lost all of their baby teeth, resulting in overcrowding. The doctor can extract the baby teeth, providing room for the adult teeth to grow in and preventing them from coming in misaligned.
- Orthodontics – When preparing a patient for braces, the doctor may need to remove teeth to make room for other teeth to move into place.
- Decay – Tooth decay can spread to the pulp of a tooth and cause damage beyond repair. When this happens, the doctor may recommend extraction, before the decay can spread to other teeth.
- Gum Disease – If gum disease goes untreated, it can advance to the point that it causes the bone in the jaw to deteriorate. This may cause the patient’s teeth to loosen to the point that extraction represents the doctor’s only option.
- Trauma – An injury to the face may damage a tooth so badly that the doctor cannot repair it and must perform an extraction.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Wisdom tooth extractions represent the most common extraction procedure. Wisdom teeth often cause problems as they attempt to protrude through the gums.
A wisdom tooth typically becomes impacted when the tooth comes in at an angle, instead of straight through the gum line. When this happens, the tooth may erupt unevenly or only partially emerge, causing the patient a great deal of pain.
When a wisdom tooth only partially emerges, a flap of skin called an operculum may form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food may get caught under the skin, causing an infection called pericoronitis to develop. The infection typically goes away on its own, but it can cause swelling and pain.
The Tooth Extraction Process
Extractions can range from a single tooth, to removing all four wisdom teeth at once. Based on the preference of the doctor and/or the patient, we will administer a local anesthetic to numb the extraction areas.
Some patients may prefer sedation for the procedure. Dr. Haack will discuss these options with you before performing the extraction.
The doctor will make an incision in the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth, revealing the tooth. He will loosen the tooth by gripping it tightly and wiggling it back and forth until it he can remove it.
Occasionally, a patient may have a tooth so severely impacted that the doctor cannot remove it this way. In these cases, he will break the tooth into pieces for easy removal. Depending on the incision and extraction site, the doctor may use dissolvable sutures to close the area.
After the surgery, you will need a friend or family member to drive you home so you can rest and allow the effects of anesthesia to dissipate.
The extraction site may bleed for a little while after the surgery, so we will apply gauze to the extraction site. You can change the gauze when necessary to help keep bleeding to a minimum. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours, call Dr. Haack.
Plan to rest after your surgery, but try to keep your head elevated with extra pillows when lying down. Lying flat may prolong bleeding. Dr. Haack will prescribe you pain medication for you, and you can also use an ice pack on the outside of your mouth to help reduce pain.
The doctor may also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site, or you can rinse occasionally with salt water to prevent infection.
Plan to eat soft foods, like pudding, mashed potatoes, soups, and ice cream for a few days after your surgery. Do not use a straw when drinking, as the sucking action can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process.
You will also need to avoid smoking, as it can have the same suction effect, and will slow the body’s ability to heal. If you experience prolonged pain, bleeding, or irritation, or feel that the extraction site is not healing properly call us for a follow up.
Call Us Today
To learn more about tooth extractions, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Haack, call our Alexandria, MN, dental office today.