How Do I Know If I Need a Tooth Extraction, and What Can I Expect?

As dental professionals, we do everything we can to help you keep your natural teeth as healthy as possible during your lifetime. It’s important to do your part as well, practicing an effective at-home oral care routine and avoiding foods that are bad for your teeth. 

While we work together with our patients to save your natural teeth from decay or prevent the need for a tooth extraction, sometimes pulling a tooth is the best way to keep your whole mouth healthy. 

At the family and cosmetic dentistry practice of Lone Star Dental Care in Frisco, Texas, Dr. Afshin Vahadi and Dr. Vafa Mirshams recommend a tooth extraction when it’s the best option for your oral health. Here, they discuss how to know if you need a tooth extraction and what you can expect during this type of in-office surgery. 

When a tooth extraction is the best option

We take a personalized approach to dental care, so there isn’t a single best way to approach a decayed tooth, crowded teeth, or a tooth that’s infected at the root. However, these are all situations in which pulling the tooth may be the best way to relieve pain and keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

You may require a tooth extraction for other reasons: 

You may also need to have a tooth pulled if you’re at risk of infection from a serious medical condition that compromises your immune system, such as chemotherapy or an organ transplant. 

A tooth extraction is often a last resort

Before we recommend extracting a tooth, we do everything we can to save your tooth from decay or further damage. For example, if you have a cavity that’s too large to repair with a filling or a crown, pulling the tooth and replacing it with a custom dental implant may save the decay from spreading to adjacent teeth. 

Additionally, if you have advanced periodontal disease and bone loss in your jaw, you may no longer be able to adequately support your natural tooth, so it becomes loose. 

What to expect during a tooth extraction

There are two types of tooth extractions: Simple and surgical. Drs. Vahadi and Mirshams may perform a simple extraction if your tooth is visible above your gums and they can easily remove it with dental instruments. 

The second type, surgical extractions, is very common. This procedure allows your dentist to remove gum tissue and bone to extract your tooth. 

A surgical tooth extraction requires stitches to close the incision and allow your gums to heal properly. Wisdom teeth extractions are surgical procedures since we typically remove these teeth before they’ve erupted through the gums. We use sedation dentistry to remove wisdom teeth to ensure that you’re comfortable and relaxed throughout the treatment, which can take up to an hour or more to complete.

In many cases, we perform tooth extractions with a local anesthetic, meaning you’re awake but relaxed during the procedure, and you won’t feel any pain. For more complex cases, we give you a general anesthetic so you sleep through the procedure.

What to expect after a tooth extraction

Immediately following a tooth extraction, you may be groggy and need to have a friend or family member drive you home. This is usually the case after having your wisdom teeth removed or several decayed teeth extracted during a single appointment. 

The amount of time it takes for your mouth to heal depends on the complexity of your surgery. Our dental team provides after-care instructions to help speed your recovery and avoid complications and prolonged discomfort. 

After-surgery care may include rinsing with saltwater, avoiding hard foods for a few days, and refraining from smoking. We may also prescribe medications to help alleviate pain and prevent infections. 

Once your mouth heals, we can recommend effective and aesthetically pleasing tooth-replacement options, including crowns and bridges, implants, and dentures

If you think you may benefit from a tooth extraction, we can help. Give us a call at 972-325-7044, or request an appointment online today.

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