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We can repair teeth with fillings, crowns, or other methods if they are broken or decayed. But sometimes it is impossible to save a tooth if it has suffered too much damage. In that case, we will need to extract it.
Simple Extractions and Surgical Extractions
We use two different kinds of extraction procedures, which are known as simple extractions and surgical extractions. Simple extractions are used to remove teeth that are visible. We use a device called an elevator to loosen the tooth, then a forcep is used to remove it. A surgical extraction is a more complicated procedure that we use for teeth that have erupted incompletely or broken off at the gumline. We make a small cut into the gum to surgically extract the tooth.
Potential Risks of Tooth Extraction
Rarely a dry socket can form after a tooth extraction when a blood clot doesn’t form in the socket or the clot breaks too quickly. The bone underneath is then exposed to air and food, causing pain. Dry sockets usually start to hurt three days after the surgery. Fortunately, this only happens 3 to 4 percent of the time.
You can also get an infection following a tooth extraction, but if you have a healthy immune system, this is unlikely to happen. The adjacent teeth can also suffer accidental damage. If the extraction is incomplete, a tooth root can remain in the jaw. We usually remove it to prevent infection, but sometimes it’s safe to leave a tip of it there.
There’s also a chance of having a hole in the sinus after removing an upper molar. If the hole is small, it will often close up by itself in a few weeks. Otherwise, you may need more surgery.
Injections, pushing on the jaw, and holding your mouth open during the extraction procedure are known to make the jaw muscles and joints sore post-operatively, making it harder to open your mouth wide. Chronic numbness in the chin and lower lip can result if the inferior alveolar nerve in your lower jaw is injured. This happens infrequently, but when it does it can take 3 to 6 months to heal fully. Older patients with osteoporosis are at an increased risk of jaw fracturing due to the pressure put on it during the extraction surgery.
Suggestions for Managing Pain following Tooth Extraction Surgery
Discomfort and pain following tooth extraction are common. But there are some things you can do to keep them under control. Make sure you only consume foods that are cool and soft and strictly follow the post-operative instructions that will be reviewed with to you. A written copy will also be provided to you for reference, and you should always call our office with any questions or concerns.
Alternating between applying an ice pack to your face for 20 minutes and keeping it off for another 20 minutes will cause the swelling to go down. Avoid using cigarettes and drinking straws following the surgery, as well as spitting. Actions like these can dislodge the blood clot from the socket and increase the risk for dry socket.
If you’re concerned about your wisdom teeth, call us at today at (631) 659-5599 or fill out the Appointment Request Form below and a member of our team will be in contact with you to get started!