Dental Information on Dental Extractions and Surgeries

The following Dental information pages answers many of your questions on dental extractions and oral surgeries.

Who is an oral surgeon?

An oral surgeon is a dental specialist who specializes in surgery of the oral and facial region. An oral surgeon extracts teeth, performs surgeries involving the jaw bones, etc.


Why are teeth extracted?

Teeth extractions are done for a variety of reasons. Below are some examples.

1. Very large cavity/ caries that cannot be restored with cements.
2. Periodontal diseases or in simple words diseases of the gums.
3. Fractured or broken teeth
4. Teeth that are traumatized leading to infection and inflammation of the pulp
5. Teeth that fail to erupt or are unable to erupt into the mouth and are deep inside the bone. They are called impacted teeth and may have to be removed.
6. Abscessed teeth are teeth in which the infection has spread to the underlying bone.
7. Teeth that are abnormal in development i.e., structure, shape, size, etc.
8. Teeth that are involved in cysts or tumors.
9. Ectopic teeth that have erupted in a wrong place.
10. Sometimes the orthodontist may remove some teeth to correct crooked teeth.


How is a tooth extracted?

There are two basic methods of tooth removal. The first method requires dental forceps and is suitable for the majority of teeth that have erupted. In this method the tooth is held at its neck by forceps and rocked gently to expand the surrounding bone socket. This action can be likened to removing a post set in the ground by rocking it sideward. So, much depends upon the elastic nature of the surrounding bone. In young patients the bone is elastic and thus expands easily. In older patients the bone is more mature and is resistant to expansion. The second method is reserved for those teeth whose roots either cannot be gripped using the forceps or the roots are of odd shape and defy all efforts to remove them by using forceps. In this method, the gums are cut open and the bone around the tooth is cut to allow removal of the teeth


Does it pain while removing a tooth?

Dental extractions are done after administration of local anesthesia that makes the tooth and the surrounding tissues numb. Thus extractions need not be painful. But a feeling of pressure may be experience by the patient during the procedure. This is often coupled with fear and anxiety which makes the patient feel some sort of pain


Why does the dentist ask me to bite on a
gauze pack after extraction?

Soon after the dental extraction the dentist will ask you to bite on a gauze pack for about 15 minutes. This helps in stopping the bleeding that occurs after extraction and helps in forming a clot. During this period, the patient is asked not to open the mouth or talk.


Do I need to take off from work after Dental extraction?

It is usually advisable to avoid demanding physical work or exercise for the remainder of the day as such activities may restart the bleeding.


What care should be taken after Dental extraction?

The following care should be taken after extraction: a) Bite on a gauze pack for 15-20 minutes. b) Take rest and avoid physical activities. c) Avoid eating till the numbness of the anesthesia persists. d) Avoid warm food as it can result in bleeding. In addition soft food is advised. e) The dentist may advise cold fomentation for some patients to reduce the inflammation and swelling. f) After 24 hours warm saline mouthwash helps in keeping the wound clean. g) Avoid biting the lips/cheeks.


What are sutures and why are they given?

Sutures are stitches which maybe given after an extraction. These stitches help in approximating the gums close together and therefore restrict the size of the wound. Sutures also help in controlling the bleeding.


Should sutures be removed?

Sutures are of two types: absorbable and non-absorbable. The absorbable sutures are broken down by the enzymes in the human body. So they just dissolve in a few days and need not be removed. The non-absorbable sutures need to be removed after 7-10 days.


What is local anesthesia or LA?

Local anesthesia is temporary loss of sensation to pain and other sensations such as pressure, temperature and touch in a localized area of the tissue. This is done by injecting a local anesthetic drug around the tooth being extracted. The teeth, lips and tongue become numb so the patient does not feel the pain during the procedure. This numbness lasts for a few hours. Most extractions are done under local anesthesia.

Forceps extraction of tooth surgical extraction of tooth

Gauze pack after extraction Sutures are stitches which maybe given after an extraction.

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