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There are times when it is in your best interest to have a tooth extracted (removed). There are a variety of reasons why you may need a tooth or teeth removed. You may have a wisdom tooth that is impacted, a diseased tooth that can’t be saved, or overcrowded teeth that need to be removed so more room can be created to facilitate proper alignment during orthodontics.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
In most people the third set of molars, generally called “wisdom teeth,” start coming in around age 17-25. However, the arrival of these teeth is often far from trouble-free. The extraction (removal) of one or more third molars is a relatively common procedure performed on approximately 5 million patients every year. After a thorough examination and diagnostic tests such as x-rays or a CT scan, you may be told that you should have your wisdom teeth extracted.
Reasons for having your wisdom teeth removed:
- Your jaw may be too small to accommodate all of your teeth, leading to excessive crowding and the chance of your wisdom teeth becoming impacted — that is, unable to emerge from the gums, and potentially harmful to adjacent bone or teeth.
- Your wisdom teeth may be erupting (coming in) in a crooked orientation, which can damage other teeth or anatomical structures in the jaw, and/or cause bite problems.
- If your wisdom tooth does not fully erupt (emerge from the gums), it can increase the chance for bacterial infection.
- A cyst (a closed, fluid-filled sac) may develop around the unerupted wisdom tooth, which can cause infection and injury to the adjacent bone or nerve tissue.
Whether it is aimed at preventing future problems or needed to alleviate a condition you already have, the extraction of wisdom teeth can be an effective treatment. But, as with all medical procedures, its benefits must be weighed against the small risk of complications, and should be discussed in detail.
If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants offer the comfort and security of a permanent replacement that looks and functions just like your natural teeth. Dental implants also help preserve the tooth-supporting bone in your jaw that deteriorates when even one tooth is lost. During implant surgery a titanium dental implant is placed beneath the gum line and into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. The implant is then attached to a realistic-looking dental crown that is visible above the gum line and indistinguishable from a natural tooth.
Bone grafting, a minor in-office surgical procedure, is commonly used in dentistry to correct deficiencies in bone quality and to build support for teeth or dental implants.
Sedation & Anesthesia
We want you to have the most comfortable dental treatment experience possible. That’s why we offer sedation, to help you relax, and/or anesthesia, to block your sensations of pain.
Oral Diagnosis & Biopsies
When it comes to detecting certain oral or systemic (whole-body) diseases, a thorough dental exam may be your first line of defense. When a suspicious oral lesion is found, a biopsy is often used to detect or rule out oral cancer — a disease that is treatable if caught early. A biopsy involves removing a very small tissue sample for laboratory analysis.
After the Procedure
The recovery period after oral surgery generally lasts only a few days. During this time, you should rest when possible to encourage healing and take any pain medication as prescribed. It is normal to experience some bleeding at the extraction site, which can be controlled by gently biting on gauze pads, changing them as needed, and resting with the head elevated on pillows rather than flat.
Holding an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for a few minutes at a time (for example, 5 minutes on / 5 minutes off) may help reduce swelling on the first day after the procedure. Starting on day 2, the warm moist heat of a washcloth placed on the cheek may make you more comfortable. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water a few times a day can also help relieve discomfort.
You may want to eat soft foods for a few days after the extraction; likewise, be careful when brushing or putting anything in your mouth until your healing is complete. Be sure to follow the postoperative instructions you are given, as each situation is a little different; this will help you to be as comfortable as possible.