In the popular 2010 film “Inception,” extraction is stealing a person’s secrets through their dreams. While that sounds unpleasant enough, we’re not talking about that kind of extraction here. In dental parlance, extraction refers to the process of having a tooth removed due to decay, damage, or overcrowding. While that means curtains for your natural tooth, it’s not the end of the story but rather the beginning of a whole new episode.
When a Tooth Can’t Be Saved
Your dentist in Rockville, MD, isn't here to pillage your secrets. Dr. Gladnick will only perform an extraction as a last resort. Other treatments are certainly preferable; fillings, root canals followed by crowns, or other restorations can preserve the tooth. However, some exceptions are extractions of baby teeth that haven’t fallen out on their own or wisdom teeth removal when insufficient space in a person’s mouth might cause future issues. But either way, extraction requires some degree of preparation.
First, your dentist will minimize your discomfort by numbing the area around the tooth to be removed. Then, if the tooth is mostly intact, your dentist will perform a simple extraction where the tooth is loosened and then pulled using dental forceps. However, when the tooth is broken off at the gums or impacted in the bone, it may require a surgical extraction to remove the remaining tooth structure.
Aftercare Is Important
When complete, a blood clot will form where the tooth once was, and your dentist will recommend several items to promote healing, such as:
- Avoiding anything that may cause suction and damage the clot, like smoking or drinking through a straw
- If you rinse your mouth, do it gently
- Lessening swelling with a cold cloth or ice bag
- Controlling pain with medication
After a few days, your extraction should be well on its healing path, but you should be aware that the space caused by missing teeth is also an issue you’ll want to correct. Even though the empty socket caused by extracting your tooth will close, the gap left over may cause instability among the surrounding teeth. Without their old neighbor, adjacent teeth may shift towards the gap, impacting your smile, causing gum issues and misalignment that can be painful. Additionally, your tooth’s absence may cause deterioration in your jawbone, increasing your chances of getting TMD (temporomandibular joint disease).
Fill That Gap
If you want to reduce the impact of your extraction, your dentist will offer the option of a dental implant, a replacement tooth anchored directly to the bone. This restoration, indistinguishable from your natural tooth will prevent your other teeth from shifting and will stabilize and prevent bone degradation.
If you have a missing or soon-to-be-missing tooth, your experience doesn’t conclude until you’ve consulted with your dentist about all your options: both present and future. At Gladnick Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, our staff is here to ensure a happy ending to your extraction story. So give us a call today.