We do whatever we can to prevent tooth loss, but there are still some occasions when a tooth needs to be extracted, such as the following:
We only suggest an extraction after careful examination and x-rays to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. We are equipped to handle the vast majority of extractions in our office, but if there are extraordinarily high risks or concerns, we may refer you to an oral surgeon.
After an extraction, the site is usually sore for about three days. This can be minimized by following the instructions given just after the procedure.
The most common complication that can happen after an extraction is a dry socket, in which the clot falls out of the socket too early. The site continues to heal normally, but the underlying bone is exposed as it heals, sending a pain that usually radiates up the side of the jaw. The good news about dry sockets is that they are easy to treat. We numb the area, rinse out any debris, and place a small sponge made out of a natural protein that covers and protects the bone. In most cases, the pain is gone within half an hour.
One way to prevent dry sockets and promote rapid healing is called ridge preservation. In ridge preservation, we place a special kind of stiff sponge into the socket immediately after removing the tooth. The sponge is contains collagen, so the gums can stick to it as they heal. It also contains hydroxyapatite, the mineral bone is made of, so it gives bone cells the raw materials they need to fill the empty space. Ridge preservation can keep the gums from rapidly shrinking after an extraction, so it’s an important step to preserve a good foundation for a dental implant, especially for front teeth.