Extracting a tooth is the last recommendation made when there is no other option to restore a tooth. They are recommended if there is too much decay to remove, there is a root fracture, or the tooth has broken far below the level of the bone. Most extractions can be done by a general dentist, but it is occasionally necessary for a patient to be referred to an oral surgeon. This is almost always the case with wisdom teeth.
To perform the extraction, anesthetic is given to numb the area so that you do not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Special instruments are used to surround the tooth, and pressure is applied to separate the tooth from the ligament that holds it in place. Sometimes, the tooth needs to be divided into several sections for easier removal. Once the tooth has been removed, the area may require sutures. A cotton gauze pad is placed over the areas to help stop any bleeding.
There are several important instructions to follow after an extraction has been performed. When drinking, do not use a straw. The sucking motion can slow the clotting process, which will extend the healing time significantly. Also, you should not smoke for at least 24 hours following an extraction. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly, call your dentist for a follow up.