At Fryeburg Dental Center, we take a conservative approach and always attempt to save your natural teeth and keep them healthy and functioning for as long as possible. However, sometimes, due to severe decay, trauma, impaction, excessive crowding or infection, it’s not possible and a tooth has to be extracted. Whether you require a simple extraction or a more complex surgical tooth extraction, Dr. Mike Harper and Dr. Alyssa Hennessy are experienced and skilled and will ensure the procedure is safe and painless.
What is a Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction is a minor surgical procedure performed to remove a tooth. While typically very straightforward, it does depend on where the tooth is located in the mouth and what the roots are like. For example, a front tooth has a single, straight root so it’s easier to extract than a molar, which has multiple roots. When extracting a tooth, Dr. Hennessy or Dr. Harper carefully manipulate the tooth to detach it from the periodontal ligament and remove it from the mouth.
A tooth could need to be extracted for a variety of reasons, including:
- Trauma or disease
- Orthodontic treatment (i.e., to make space in cases of crowding)
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Baby teeth that are preventing permanent teeth from erupting properly
Benefits of Tooth Extractions
When a tooth is severely infected, removing it can prevent the infection from spreading.
Once a damaged, impacted or infected tooth is extracted, it won’t cause pain anymore.
Allows for a Replacement Tooth
Removing a diseased or damaged tooth allows for a dental implant or restoration to be placed.
What to Expect
Dr. Harper or Dr. Hennessy will examine your x-rays to evaluate the position of the tooth roots and the condition of the bone. They’ll also take your health and medication history before discussing your options for anesthesia.
Tooth extractions are usually performed with local anesthesia, which numbs the tooth, bone and gums. If you’re anxious, we do offer sedation, including oral sedatives and nitrous oxide, so you can relax throughout the procedure. For more complicated extractions or the removal of multiple teeth, conscious sedation, which is given intravenously, is also an option.
Once you’re numb, Dr. Harper and Dr. Hennessy will use a special instrument to rock the tooth and widen the socket. This allows them to ease the tooth out. Some teeth may require sectioning, which is when the doctor cuts the tooth into pieces and removes one section at a time. Sometimes, if you’ll be getting a dental implant or undergoing orthodontic treatment, Dr. Harper or Dr. Hennessy might place a small amount of bone grafting material into the socket to help preserve the bone volume. When the procedure is complete, they may use small sutures to close the area.
Immediately after your tooth is extracted, Dr. Harper or Dr. Hennessy will cover the socket with sterile gauze, which you’ll bite down on for 10 to 20 minutes to control any bleeding. Some mild to moderate post-operative discomfort and swelling is normal and can be alleviated by taking a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to prevent infection during the healing process. Eating softer foods and using ice packs on the outside of your jaw can be helpful. You’ll be back to normal within a few days.