A dental extraction, also known as exodontia, is one of the most common procedures performed at a dentist's office. The procedure involves removing or pulling a tooth. Dentists will attempt to treat related oral conditions to save the tooth, but this is not always possible or effective, and in some cases, an extraction may be necessary.
Reasons for Dental Extractions
Dental extractions may be performed to minimize teeth overcrowding or in preparation for braces. An extraction may also be performed to remove the following types of teeth:
- Wisdom teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Broken teeth
- Loose teeth
The Dental Extraction Procedure
After the dentist has decided that dental extraction is necessary, an X-ray examination will be completed to further evaluate the tooth. The extraction procedure is performed under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort. There are two types of dental extractions:
A simple extraction is usually performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. It is commonly performed by a dentist that uses forceps to remove the tooth.
More complex extractions may need to be performed by an oral surgeon. Surgical extraction is commonly performed on teeth that have broken at the gum line or have not descended into the mouth, such as wisdom teeth. This procedure may require general anesthesia.
Complications from a Dental Extraction
The dental extraction procedure is safe for most patients with minimal to no complications. While most complications are rare, they may include:
- Accidental damage to surrounding teeth
- Fractured jaw
- Soreness in the jaw
- Dry socket or exposure of bone in the tooth socket
Recovery from a Dental Extraction
After the extraction, patients may experience a certain amount of pain. The pain may be relieved by:
- Applying ice to the external area
- Rinsing with warm salt water
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication
Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight infection. Patients are also advised to avoid certain foods.
Most patients recover completely from a dental extraction within one to two weeks.