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Sometimes a tooth is too far gone to be saved by a crown, filling or root canal. In that case, dentists apply an advanced version of a technology that would be familiar to patients of simpler times: extraction.
In colonial America, even Founding Fathers flashed grins that were crafted by this technique. Those performing tooth extractions rarely fit the modern profile of a trained medical professional, however. Teeth were removed by barbers and even traveling dentists who would set up shop at town fairs.
In the Middle Ages, teeth were believed to be the cause of sickness in the body, and removed as a cure. The idea wasn’t as primitive as it sounds. A variety of 21st century studies have shown that poor oral health, such as periodontal infections, can contribute to serious conditions ranging from heart disease to gastrointestinal distress.
Fortunately, refinements in dental technology have made the extraction process convenient and painless. And because dentists are much better equipped to save a decayed or infected tooth, the procedure is also much rarer than it once was.
Causes of Lost Teeth
When left untreated, periodontal disease will eventually eat away at the bone that firmly anchors teeth in the jaw. When teeth begin to loosen, extraction may be necessary.
Infected teeth or teeth with severe decay may also not be salvageable. Sometimes trauma damages the tooth or its stability in the mouth, and the tooth will need to be removed. For orthodontic patients, removal of one or more teeth before initiating treatment is common. Impacted teeth, severely misaligned teeth, or teeth that simply won’t fit in a small mouth may also need to be extracted.
Tooth Extraction Details
Whatever the reason, the experienced Chicago, IL general dentists of Contos Smile Center will ensure that the extraction process is as quick, comfortable and complication-free as possible. Removal begins with the application of local anesthetic to numb the tooth, gums and jaw bone. The only sensation you are likely to experience is a feeling of pressure, as your dentist moves the tooth back and forth to loosen it from its socket.
In most cases this simple technique will be sufficient. If the root is curved or solidly rooted, the tooth may require “sectioning.” As the name suggests, the tooth is cut into sections by the dentist and removed piece by piece.
After Tooth Extraction
After tooth extraction, its important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.
After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids healing. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and retard the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
Use the pain medication as directed. Call the office at (773) 973-0531 if the medication doesnt seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluid and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately at (773) 973-0531.
Restoring Stability after Tooth Removal
In a few weeks or months, bone will fill and smooth over the empty socket. But if you do not address this newly created gap in your mouth, you may experience a number of negative side effects.
This new imbalance in your mouth can affect your jaw joint and interfere with chewing or speaking. It may cause other teeth to drift out of alignment. Without the root from the extracted tooth, the jaw bone in the area will lose the natural stimulation the root provided. As a result, the bone that once anchored the teeth will begin to shrink and recede for many people, dramatically changing the entire facial profile.
That is why your Contos Smile Center dentist will advise you on effective ways to fill the gap and prevent any adverse effects. Solutions may include dental implants, orthodontic treatment, bridges, bonding and veneers.
For more information on tooth extraction or to schedule an appointment in our Chicago office, call (773) 973-0531 or email Contos Smile Center today. We welcome patients from Cicero, Skokie, and Bucktown, IL.
We are dedicated to providing the highest level of service and quality to our patient community by cultivating strong relationships, communicating thoughtful treatment solutions, and providing an enjoyable atmosphere, we can empower our patients to take ownership of their oral health.
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