Extractions & Root Canals
Once upon a time, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called root canal therapy, you may save that tooth. Inside each tooth is the pulp which provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth, it runs like a thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies. If you don’t remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it. After the pulp is removed, the root canal is cleaned, filled with a special filling called gutta percha and sealed off to protect it. We then often place a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger.
We numb the area to lessen any discomfort. You will not experience sharp pain, but will only perceive the pressure that accompanies an extraction of a tooth. After the extraction, we will advise you of what post extraction regimen to follow, in most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal.
You should avoid anything that might prevent normal healing. It is usually best not to smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities could dislodge the clot and delay healing.
For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently afterward, for pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual. But don’t clean the teeth next to the tooth socket.
When having an extraction, today’s modern procedures and follow up care as recommended by your dentist are there to provide you the patient great benefit and comfort.
It is important to understand that losing a tooth is not without consequences. Teeth adjacent to and opposing the extraction site often shift or extrude out of their sockets causing harm to these teeth over time. For this reason it is usually in your best interest to replace the missing tooth (usually with an implant, a partial denture or bridge).
Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. Often, however, problems develop that require their removal. When the jaw isn’t large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted (unable to come in or misaligned). Wisdom teeth may grow sideways, emerge only part way from the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
Extraction of wisdom teeth is generally recommended when:
- Wisdom teeth only partially erupt. This leaves an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection. Pain, swelling, jaw stiffness and general illness can result.
- There is a chance that poorly aligned wisdom teeth will damage adjacent teeth.
- A cyst (fluid-filled sac) forms, destroying surrounding structures such as bone or tooth roots.
Patients should ask a dentist about the health and positioning of their wisdom teeth. In our office we feel comfortable removing most wisdom teeth. If the extraction appears to be difficult due to impaction, we may make a recommendation to consult an oral surgeon for further evaluation.