While many people assume that the only reason to have a tooth extracted is because it has “rotted out,” there are actually a number of reasons that are not related to tooth decay. Some orthodontists recommend tooth extractions prior to beginning orthodontic treatment (“braces”), and it is often strongly recommended to have wisdom teeth removed. Some people are born with “extra” teeth that block their “regular” teeth from growing properly and frequently look odd in the smile. Some types of radiation treatment for the head and neck require the removal of teeth that are in the field of radiation. If you have severe gum disease, your may have lost significant bone and tissue structures which will lead to unavoidable tooth extractions. If you have a tooth that fractures or breaks below your gumline, the long-term stability of a crown to restore your tooth may be questionable; in these cases, you may be advised to have your tooth extracted. Finally, if you have decay in your tooth that has progressed to a point at which there is only a minimal amount of tooth structure remaining, you may need to have your decayed tooth extracted.
There are two categories of extractions, “simple” and “surgical.” When Dr. Mark Davis performs a simple extraction, he is removing a tooth that is visible in the mouth. After numbing the area of your mouth from which your tooth will be extracted, Dr. Mark Davis will gently rock and lift your tooth. This gentle movement will loosen the surrounding bone and allow the tooth to slide out of its socket in your mouth.
When Dr. Mark Davis performs a surgical extraction, he is removing a tooth that is either broken below the gumline or is not yet fully erupted. After numbing your mouth, Dr. Mark Davis will make a small incision in order to slightly elevate your gum tissue. This will allow him to carefully remove any bone that may be covering your tooth. Frequently, Dr. Mark Davis may have to pide your broken or impacted tooth into two or more pieces in order to facilitate the extraction of your tooth.
Many people are concerned about the level of pain they are going to feel after having a tooth extracted. While Dr. Mark Davis will prescribe a pain medication if he feels that you may need it, you may find that you are one of the many people whose discomfort is relieved with Advil. In addition, there are very simple and minor adjustments that you can make in your daily life for the few days following your tooth extraction that will speed up your healing process. Dr. Mark Davis recommends that you avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, and that you maintain a softer diet for the first week after your tooth extraction. While Dr. Mark Davis does want you to continue brushing and flossing your teeth as normal, you should avoid any extra pressure or tugging on your tissues during your healing process. If you relax as much as possible after leaving Dr. Mark Davis’ office and if you treat your mouth gently, you most likely will not experience the pain that so many people fear with a tooth extraction.
After having a tooth extracted, you may have questions about what to do next. When Dr. Mark Davis extracts third molars, or “wisdom teeth,” there is no other treatment that is needed. When Dr. Mark Davis extracts a more functional tooth in your mouth, however, he does recommend that you replace your tooth. Your tooth replacement options include dental implants (pdf from American Dental Association), bridges, and partial or full dentures. Dr. Mark Davis encourages you to read about each of these options here on his website and to ask him any additional questions that you may have during your appointment.