When you have a dental problem and visit the dentist’s office, your dentist will do their best to treat or manage the problem and save the natural tooth. Dentists recommend tooth extraction as a last resort when all other treatments and procedures are insufficient to save a damaged tooth. The extraction can follow a restorative procedure, like installing a dental bridge, denture, or crown. The most important thing is alleviating your pain and discomfort and restoring your tooth's functionality.

If our dentists at Tayani Dental Group recommend tooth extraction in Fullerton, we will prepare you for the treatment process. We understand how surprising and scary that sounds and will ensure you have all the information you need to prepare yourself before the procedure. We will also prepare your tooth for extraction and take the necessary measures to keep you safe, relaxed, and infection-free after the extraction.

What Does Tooth Extraction Entail?

Dentists are all about good oral hygiene. They recommend taking good care of your teeth, gums, and bones to maintain a healthy and functional mouth. Dentists want you to take good care of your natural teeth and will do their best to save them in the event of damage. However, there comes a time when extracting your tooth is the only option for the dentist. Extraction entails removing the natural tooth, complete with its roots. It could happen if the tooth is severely damaged due to a cavity, a fracture from an accident, or an infection. Removing the tooth will remove your pain, protect other teeth from cavities, and stop the infection from spreading.

A general doctor can perform tooth extraction in an outpatient setting at their office. This would be the case for minor damage to the tooth. However, a more extensive measure is required in case of a severely broken tooth or an impacted wisdom tooth. In that case, the dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon for a proper diagnosis and extraction. A minor tooth extraction procedure will take a few minutes and a relatively short time to heal. But an extensive one can take longer and could require you to take some time to recover.

But before your dentist recommends tooth extraction, they will explore and discuss alternative treatments with you. For example, in the case of a severely decayed tooth, the dentist could consider installing a crown after root canal therapy to restore its shape and functionality. But if only a small part of the natural tooth remains, it will not support the crown, and the restoration process will not work. Tooth extraction will be your dentist’s last option after all viable treatment options fail to produce the desired outcome. But in case of an accident and a severely fractured tooth, it could be in your best interest for the dentist to perform an emergency extraction.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

Saving your natural tooth would be your dentist’s priority in case of an infection or damage. But sometimes tooth extraction is necessary in adulthood. Your natural permanent teeth are strong, healthy, and beautiful. They are meant to last for years. However, they are prone to damage due to wear and tear, unhealthy diets, poor oral hygiene habits, and injuries. Doctors recommend tooth extraction for several reasons, including:

Severe Damage

A natural tooth's enamel, or outer part, is very strong to protect its inner structures. It can withstand all external damaging factors, but only to some extent. Over time, the detrimental factors become overwhelming, leaving your natural tooth damaged. The most common causes of tooth damage are trauma from accidents and cavities. You can save the situation if the damage is minor. If a cavity is left untreated for a long time, it can become severe, leaving a significant part of your tooth damaged. An accident can damage a good part of your tooth, rendering it unsalvageable. A dentist will recommend extraction for a tooth that is too damaged to save.

Dental Crowding

Crowding is a situation where your teeth fight for space in your mouth. If the gum space is not enough for all your growing teeth, they will squeeze; some will appear crooked, while others will develop at the front or back of others. Crowding affects your facial appearance, smile, and how you eat and speak. It also makes it challenging to keep your mouth clean, as some spaces between your teeth are difficult to reach when brushing and flossing. Consequently, dental crowding leads to other oral problems, including cavities, gum disease, and bad bites.

Your dentist can recommend extracting some of your teeth to free others and allow the remaining ones to grow straight and healthy.

Impacted Teeth

An impacted tooth cannot erupt or break through the gum. A tooth becomes impacted if it does not find sufficient space to grow after developing below the gum. This problem mostly happens to wisdom teeth since they are usually the last to develop after all other permanent teeth develop. If your other teeth have already occupied the entire space on your gums, your wisdom teeth will have insufficient or zero teeth to erupt.

An impacted tooth is very painful. It will affect your ability to eat or speak. Additionally, it can become infected, causing severe problems for the adjacent teeth. That is why your dentist will likely recommend extraction for an impacted tooth.

An Infection

Infections affect the health of your teeth and gums. An infection of your tooth can occur due to a cavity and spread to the tooth’s underlying structures. When that happens, you will experience pain, swelling, and difficulties chewing or speaking. Dentists perform root canal therapy for infected pulps (the tooth’s underlying structures containing blood vessels and nerves). They can try to save the natural teeth if much of it is undamaged. But if the tooth is severely damaged, your dentist will extract it and recommend a restoration that will restore its functionality. Sometimes extraction is recommended after an infection to prevent the infection from spreading to other teeth and other teeth’ structures.

Risk of Infection

Dentists also recommend the extraction of teeth that are at risk of infection. An infection has unpleasant symptoms and can result in more oral and dental issues, hence the need to extract the tooth before it becomes infected. For example, suppose you have a condition that weakens your immune system or are undergoing organ transplant or chemotherapy treatment. In that case, you risk infections due to compromised immunity. If a dentist believes that one or more of your teeth are at risk of infection, they can recommend extraction before the infection occurs. That will save you the agony of dealing with an infected tooth and money to treat the infection.

Gum Disease

A severe infection of your gums caused by periodontal or gum disease can cause you to lose all or most of your natural teeth. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that escalates into a severe infection that attacks the gum muscles, affecting their ability to hold the teeth in place. It starts with a minor buildup on the gums caused by acid from a combination of oral bacteria and food debris. The combination happens when you fail to properly clean your teeth and mouth after eating. The acids produce a dark, sticky substance that attaches to the gums. The buildup causes the soft gum muscles to inflame, and eventually, an infection occurs.

Gum disease starts as gingivitis, a less severe inflammation of the gum muscles. If left untreated, it escalates and spreads to the gum pockets and underneath the teeth’s underlying structures. It causes the gum pockets to deepen, releasing their grip on your teeth.

If you consult with a dentist with an advanced gum disease, it could be difficult to save your teeth. The dentist can recommend extraction, treatment, and a complete tooth restoration.

Tooth Extraction Process

Tooth extraction is a very sensitive process that must be done by a specially trained dentist or oral surgeon. Before extracting your tooth, the dentist must ensure they cannot save it in any other way. If extraction is your only option, the dentist will discuss that with you to gain your consent and explain the process.

Dentists and oral surgeons start the process by administering anesthesia to numb your gum around the extraction site. They usually do this through an injection. In some cases, you could require stronger general anesthesia to protect you from experiencing pain throughout the entire body or cause you to sleep or relax throughout the process.

If the dentist is dealing with an impacted tooth, a more extensive procedure is needed to remove the tooth and its roots from underneath the gum. They have to cut open your gum to access the tooth. Sometimes, they need to go through bone tissue that could be covering the tooth. Then, the dentist will use forceps to grasp the impacted tooth and gently move it back and forth. That loosens the tooth from the ligaments holding it and the jawbone, making it easy to extract.

The dentist will extract the impacted tooth in pieces if the affected tooth is damaged. He must carefully remove all pieces, as any remaining pieces will cause an infection or other complications.

Once the dentist removes the tooth, a blood clot will form in the remaining socket. Your dentist will prepare a gauze pad, pack it into the pocket, and ask you to bite on it to prevent further bleeding. If needed, they will stitch up the treatment site using self-dissolving stitches to return the gum edges to their original position.

Your dentist will instruct you on what to do and not do to ensure the socket heals quickly and effectively. The clot on the socket can come out, exposing the treatment site and bone. That is an excruciating issue called a dry socket. If it happens to you, see your dentist immediately. They will pack a sedative dressing on the socket to protect it from infections before it forms a new clot. The dressing will remain in place for a few days.

Preparing for a Tooth Extraction

Emergency dentists usually handle some tooth extraction cases. If you have been in an accident and have injured one or more of your teeth, an emergency dentist will quickly extract severely damaged teeth to prevent bleeding and alleviate your pain. The dentist needs more time to prepare you for emergencies since their most significant concern is stopping the bleeding and saving the situation.

However, if you have gum disease, an impacted tooth, or a severely damaged tooth due to a cavity, the dentist will have time to prepare you for the extraction process. Before the treatment process, they will examine you for other oral or dental conditions that could affect the extraction. They will also seek to find out what you have been treated for in the past, the kind of medication and supplements you are currently on, and any allergic reactions you have.

Although tooth extraction is relatively safe, it can allow bacteria into your bloodstream, causing an infection. Your soft gum tissues are also prone to damage and infection, especially around the treatment site. If you suffer from a medical condition that increases your risk of infection, the dentist will recommend taking antibiotics before the extraction.

Your medical history is crucial to help the dentist understand your other risk factors. It is advisable to bring some of your medical records to your appointment with the dentist for proper review. Discussing it during that meeting is best if you prefer how you would like the treatment done. Here are some of the medical issues your dentist must know about before tooth extraction:

  • Liver cirrhosis or liver disease.
  • Man-made or damaged heart valves.
  • A low immune system.
  • Any prior bacterial endocarditis.
  • Congenital heart disease.
  • Artificial joints, like hip replacement.

What Follows a Tooth Extraction?

Most tooth extractions occur in an outpatient setting. Thus, you will likely leave the dentist’s office right after the extraction. Your recovery will take only two or three days. The dentist will prescribe some pain medication to minimize your pain and manage your discomfort. They will also prescribe antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection. Here are some of the instructions your dentist will send you home with:

  • You must take your pain medications as per the dentist’s prescription.
  • You should continue biting down firmly on the gauze pad the dentist places on the socket for a blood clot to form on the treatment site. The dentist will give you a few more gauze pads that you can change occasionally once they soak in blood.
  • You can use an ice bag on the affected part right after the extraction to reduce swelling. Use an ice pack on your face for no more than ten minutes.
  • Relax for two days or more after leaving the dentist’s office. That means you should minimize your physical activity in these days.
  • Do not rinse or spit forcefully not to dislodge the blood clot from the socket.
  • After two days, you can start rinsing the mouth with a warm salt solution.
  • You must not use a straw to drink for at least two days after the treatment.
  • The dentist will advise you to quit smoking, as it inhibits the healing process.
  • Only consume soft foods like yogurt, pudding, and soup a few days after the extraction. You can slowly introduce solids as the treatment site continues to heal.
  • When you sleep or lie down, use pillows to prop the head, as lying flat can prolong bleeding.
  • You could continue cleaning your mouth regularly with a soft brush and dental floss, but be careful around the extraction site. Maintaining good oral hygiene is necessary to prevent oral infections.

When To Contact Your Dentist After Tooth Extraction

Pain after tooth extraction is expected, especially once the anesthesia wears off. The pain will be there for the first few days, but it should be reducing and not worsening. You could also experience residual bleeding and swelling. But if the bleeding and pain become severe, it could be an indication of something more severe. You need to contact your dentist immediately. You can also talk to your dentist in case of the following:

  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Chills, fever, and any other signs of an infection.
  • Swelling, or redness, of the extraction site.
  • Excess discharge from the extraction site.
  • Chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath.

Find an Experienced Dentist Near Me

Do you or someone you love about to undergo tooth extraction in Fullerton?

Even though a dentist’s main aim is to save the natural tooth, they can recommend extraction in case of severe damage, gum disease, a risk of infection, or an impacted tooth. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the extraction process to know what to expect at every step.

We recommend extraction at Tayani Dental Group when it is necessary. Our emergency dentists, general dentists, and oral surgeons have the skills and experience to extract safely and effectively. We also conduct follow-ups after extraction to ensure the site is healing well. Call us at 949-741-0795 to discuss your dental and oral health and our services.