Why do I need a tooth extraction?

Ideally, we want to save your teeth. Sometimes, however, removing a problematic tooth becomes the most appropriate option.

Some of the situations when we might recommend tooth extraction include:

  • When a tooth is too damaged by decay or trauma to provide support for a crown.
  • When a tooth has broken off beneath the gumline.
  • When root canal therapy has failed.
  • When you have few remaining teeth and a full set of dentures is desired.
  • When a wisdom tooth is impacted (partially or completely covered by gum tissue).
  • When a wisdom tooth is coming in improperly and causing problems with your other teeth.
  • When orthodontic treatment is desired and space is needed for proper treatment.

We know that extraction can be scary, and we will always take the time to discuss all your options with you along with the expected results of each option so that you can make an informed decision about your dental health.

If we determine that extraction is the most appropriate route, we will also discuss which tooth replacement options are right for you to restore the function and aesthetics of your smile. In some cases, such as with wisdom teeth or orthodontic therapy, no tooth replacement will be necessary.

Will my tooth extraction hurt?

Dentists have an unfortunate reputation in TV and movies, don’t we? Despite the (occasionally humorous) takes on dentists you might have seen, we do not wish to cause our patients pain, and we will do everything possible to avoid discomfort during your procedures – and that includes extracting teeth.

We know that extractions can be stressful, and we will walk you through the process gently and calmly, making sure that you are comfortable every step of the way. The first step is to treat any infection with antibiotics and make sure that your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible so that you get the most benefit and relief from the dental anesthetic we use.

To calm your nerves and help you relax, we also provide nitrous oxide, often referred to as “laughing gas.” This safe and reliable form of sedation helps to remove any uncomfortable sensations and can even provide a light sense of euphoria. If there’s a risk of your tooth breaking during extraction, we’ll discuss this with you ahead of time and take any extra steps necessary to make the process easier.

If you need a tooth extracted, give us a call. We “cater to cowards” and will do everything we can to provide you with a stress-free dental experience.

What is bone grafting?

You may already be familiar with skin grafting, a medical technique used to provide new skin tissue to patients with damaged skin. Bone grafting is a similar technique designed to add new bone tissue to areas of your jaw where the bone is not dense enough to support your dentistry.

Sometimes, patients come to us wanting dental implants to replace their missing teeth, but the bone tissue has already begun to deteriorate and is no longer sufficiently dense to properly support the implant. Before we turn to other, less permanent, tooth replacement options, we can explore the possibility of grafting new bone to the existing jaw bone to bolster up the quality of the bone and allow it to support the implant.

Bone grafting can be done with your own bone, donor bone, animal bone, or even a synthetic mineral bone. Just like the blood you would receive in a transfusion, all of this bone is screened, sterile, and safe to use. Dr. Bond will discuss your grafting options with you and recommend the one that will be right for you. Either prior to or during your implant surgery, the new bone will be placed. Over time, the bone graft will integrate with your existing bone tissue.

Why do I have to take antibiotics if you’re just going to extract the tooth anyway?

Sometimes a serious infection is the reason behind a tooth extraction. Before we extract the tooth, we may recommend a course of antibiotics to get the infection under control. Patients sometimes ask, “If the infection is under control, why do you still need to extract the tooth?” The answer is that infections can do significant damage to the interior of your tooth and your periodontal tissue, and these areas won’t rebuild themselves after the infection has gone.

If we extract a tooth when an active infection is present, we create two areas of risk. The first is that creating an opening in the area gives the bacteria an opportunity to spread and infect other teeth (or even cause a systemic infection), a situation that we definitely want to avoid.

The other issue is that infected tissue can respond to medications differently. To make extractions and other procedures more comfortable, we rely on local anesthetics to numb the area and allow us to give you the treatment you need free from discomfort. If we attempt to use anesthetics on infected tissue, the results can be unpredictable. The medication may not work as it’s supposed to or could wear off sooner than expected, causing you unnecessary discomfort, and we certainly don’t want that either!

How do I care for my mouth following an extraction?

Extraction leaves a small wound in your mouth, and it’s important to follow Dr. Bond’s post-procedure care tips to make sure that it heals cleanly and to help you avoid complications.

Your instructions will vary a bit depending on whether you had a simple single-tooth extraction or a more complex surgical extraction (such as might be used to remove an impacted wisdom tooth). Surgical extractions do take a longer time to heal.

Following your extraction, don’t rinse your mouth immediately. A clot is in the process of developing at the extraction site, which will protect the socket while it heals. If you rinse, you could disturb this clot, cause bleeding, and prolong the healing process.

Once you are given the green light to begin eating, stick with soft foods for a while. Yogurt, cold soups, shakes, smoothies, and protein drinks are all good choices. Do not drink through a straw (or smoke) because the sucking action can dislodge the clot or lead to a complication known as “dry socket.”

If you have been prescribed medication, please take it as directed to promote healing, increase your comfort, or reduce infection (depending on the medication). Of course, if you have any concerns or questions during the healing process, you are always welcome to call our office.