Although your dentist will probably work to repair a damaged or infected tooth if possible, there are times when pulling a tooth is the right option. A pulled tooth can often be replaced with an implant, bridge, or even dentures if you have multiple teeth pulled. Here's a look at when you may need to have a tooth pulled and what to expect.
When Your Dentist May Recommend Pulling A Tooth
If your teeth are crowded, your dentist might suggest pulling at least one tooth before you get braces so your teeth can straighten out. Also, it's common to have wisdom teeth pulled if there's not enough room for them to erupt and grow properly. A tooth that has severe damage or that's infected can possibly be saved, but if not, your dentist might recommend pulling the tooth and then put in an implant or do another cosmetic procedure to fill the gap later.
What A Simple Dental Extraction Entails
When you have a simple dental extraction, your dentist numbs the area around your tooth and then pulls the tooth out. You won't feel much pain since the area is numb, but you'll probably feel tugging in your mouth.
Dental extractions are fairly quick procedures as long as there are no complications due to an infection or damaged tooth. An extraction is one way to get relief from a toothache, although your gum may be tender and sore after the extraction.
What Happens During A Surgical Extraction
If the tooth that needs to be pulled is still under the gum or if a broken or decayed tooth doesn't have enough healthy area to grab on and pull, your dentist might recommend surgical extraction. Your gum is also numbed during this procedure, and you may be given medication to help you relax. You may even receive general anesthesia in certain circumstances, such as when you have all your wisdom teeth removed.
The dentist makes an incision in your gums and cuts the tooth out. It may also be necessary to remove part of your bone at the same time. Surgical removal of wisdom teeth or other teeth is usually done as an outpatient procedure, but you'll probably need help getting home since you may be groggy after the medication.
How Long It Takes To Recover
Whether you have a simple dental extraction or a surgical procedure, you'll need to allow time to fully heal. In the case of a surgical extraction, your gums have to heal from the incision and you may have more pain than you would have from a simple extraction.
Your dentist will advise you about how long you need to take off from work and what you need to do during your recovery period. Following the instructions is important so you don't dislodge the blood clot that helps with healing. If you dislodge the clot by drinking through a straw, eating solid foods, or smoking, you might develop a painful condition known as dry socket.
If you follow your dentist's orders and heal normally, you should be free from dental pain quickly, but you'll probably need to allow several weeks for your mouth to heal completely so you can go ahead with a dental implant if that's your plan.
To learn more about dental extractions, contact a dentist.