Tooth extraction is a procedure that can provide incredible relief from the pain of a decayed or broken tooth. Unfortunately, many people are wary of having a tooth removed because they are unsure about the process that is used and worry that it will be painful. Here is an overview of the tooth-extraction procedure to help you decide whether tooth extraction is right for you.
The first thing your dentist will do to start the extraction procedure is numb the tooth and the tissues around it. The type of anesthesia that your dentist uses will depend on the severity of the damage to the tooth. Local anesthesia, which consists of an injection in the tissue near the tooth, is often used when the procedure is expected to be simple and only a minimal incision will be required.
If the tooth extraction will be more complex, your dentist may deem it necessary to use sedative anesthesia or general anesthesia. Sedative anesthesia is delivered through an IV in your arm. While you may remain in a partially awake state, you will feel no pain and have very limited memory of the procedure. General anesthesia is administered through a breathing tube or IV and will render you completely unconscious while the tooth is removed.
Accessing the Tooth
Tooth extraction is one of the most common solutions for impacted teeth. Impacted teeth are teeth that have failed to emerge from the surface of the gums. Extracting an impacted tooth requires an additional incision in the gums to access the tooth before it can be removed from its socket.
In some cases, an impacted wisdom tooth may have never erupted from the socket of the bone that it grew in. The dentist will need to cut through the layer of bone above the tooth in addition to incising the gums. These are some of the most complex tooth extractions and will often require sedative or general anesthesia.
Severing the Tooth
Severing the connection of the tooth to the dental socket and periodontal ligament is often the most time-consuming part of the extraction procedure. If you are awake during your extraction, you will likely feel some pressure around the tooth during this phase of the extraction, but pain should still be minimal. If you feel significant pain during this stage, you should let your dentist know so he or she can administer more anesthesia.
Your dentist will begin severing the tooth by rocking it back and forth in the socket. This will widen the socket and make it easier for the dentist to access the ligament. Your dentist will then insert a tool known as a periotome into the dental socket. The periotome is circled around the base of the tooth to disconnect it from the socket and ligament.
Removing the Tooth
Even after the tooth is severed, it may not pull freely out of the socket. If your dentist cannot remove the tooth immediately using forceps, he or she will likely use a drill to cut the tooth into smaller pieces. The pieces are individually removed using forceps, and the socket is rinsed to remove any remaining pieces of the tooth.
The most common scenario where cutting up the tooth is necessary to remove it is when the tooth has a curved root. Curved roots can extend an inch or more into the gums at a perpendicular angle to the emerging tooth. This will cause the tooth to hook on to the soft tissues surrounding it even when the periodontal ligament has been severed.
Advances in dental technology have made tooth extraction a very safe and nearly painless procedure. Talk to a dentist, such as one from Abbott Family Dentistry, LLC, if you are experiencing chronic tooth pain to see whether an extraction is the right solution.