When is a tooth extraction necessary?
As a family dental practice in Fort Lee, NJ, we are regularly asked, “When is a tooth extraction necessary?” This is an understandable question because no one wants to have a tooth pulled unless it is absolutely beneficial. We are not interested in extracting teeth unnecessarily, either. In fact, if you damage a tooth, our preferred method of treatment would be to restore it and save it. There are times, however, where we do recommend visiting our dental office for an extraction. Here is why:
You were in an accident.
As an emergency dentist, we treat many patients who have gotten into an accident and need to have immediate dental work completed. In some cases, dental damage is only part of the problem and immediate solutions are necessary. If possible, we will restore the tooth using dental bonding, dental veneers, or dental crowns, but if the problem is urgent, a tooth extraction may be necessary.
An infection has spread.
If you have a bad dental infection, you should visit our dental office right way. You should be able to tell because you will experience intense discomfort that will make it difficult to bite down, chew, sleep, or even carry on with daily activities. We recommend coming in at the first sign of a toothache so we can treat the infection before it reaches the point of being severe. However, if you have delayed and are now at the point of no return, you may need a tooth extraction just to get rid of the infection quickly. While not ideal, we can eliminate the source of the problem, prescribe you antibiotics, and then replace the tooth or teeth in the future with dental crowns and bridges or dental implants.
The cost to restore the tooth is too great.
We accept most insurance plans and can also discuss various payment options with you. However, we also realize that sometimes restorative dental work can be cost prohibitive. This is not an inexpensive teeth whitening procedure. Instead, removing an infection can require a full root canal and restoration afterward. If you are in a situation where you cannot afford a root canal, you may want to consider a tooth extraction and then replace the tooth later on when you have the funds to do so. This will address the immediate problem, which is to remove the infection.
The Dental Extraction Process
While the first question we hear is, “When is a tooth extraction necessary?”, the second is always about the process. At JPW Dental, we understand that our patients are often intimidated by the prospect of needing to have a tooth extracted. This is a process that most people grow up fearing, in part because of popular movies and television conveying an extraction as something truly horrible. The good news is that we can complete the extraction gently, quickly, and while keeping you comfortable.
The procedure for wisdom tooth extractions will involve the dentist first taking X-rays of the patient’s teeth to get an adequate view of the wisdom teeth. From there, the dentist will determine if the wisdom teeth need to be extracted. The placement and condition of the wisdom teeth will affect the overall procedure. If the wisdom teeth are impacted, then the extraction might be more intensive than normal.
If your tooth has grown in straight…
We can typically grasp the tooth, wiggle it, and gently but quickly pull it out. This process happens quickly, and afterward, we will clean the area and place gauze there to stop the bleeding.
If your tooth is impacted (sideways)…
We regularly remove impacted teeth, but this process is more complicated because an impacted tooth cannot be directly pulled. Instead, we have to open the gum tissue that surrounds the tooth so we can fully access it. In some cases, other bone or gums has to be cut away so we have full access to the tooth and can pull it out. If necessary, we may need to pull it out one piece at a time. Afterward, we will clean the area, replace the gum flap, place sutures if necessary, and treat it with gauze.
The Recovery Process After a Tooth Extraction
At JPW Dental, we advise patients that they will be sore for several days and that they will experience some swelling. This is perfectly natural and can be controlled by taking ibuprofen (Advil) and placing a cold compress or icepack on your face in the area where the tooth was extracted. We encourage our patients to do so for 15 minutes at a time. In preparation for your tooth extraction, you should buy plenty of JELL-O, yogurt, applesauce, and anything else you can eat without actually needing to chew. Within a couple of days, you should be able to add solids back into your diet but will need to be cautious until the area has healed completely.