Teeth removal and oral surgery
Oral surgery is any procedure that includes cutting into or removing tissue from your mouth. It includes procedures like removing a tooth, gum surgery, and getting dental implants. Oral surgery also includes getting rid of diseased tissue from the mouth, correcting jaw problems or repairing a cleft lip or palate. Most minor oral surgery procedures in Westport Dental Centre are performed by our experienced general dentists and whenever there is a need for a more complex oral surgery procedure, we are fortunate to have an oral surgeon specialist, Dr Niamh Boyle, visiting our practice on an occasional basis.
Tooth removal (extraction) is the most common oral surgery procedure and involves removing a tooth from its socket in the jaw bone. Before your dentist considers extraction, every effort will be made to try to repair and restore your tooth. However, sometimes a tooth extraction is the only solution. There are several reasons for removing a tooth and these include:
- Severe tooth damage or trauma – either due to extensive decay or fracture, or advanced gum disease
- Malpositioned/non-functioning teeth – to avoid possible complications to your oral health
- Orthodontic treatment (braces) – to make space for better teeth alignment
- Extra teeth – when they block other teeth from erupting
- Radiation therapy of head and neck area – to avoid possible complications
- Organ transplant
There are two types of tooth extractions:
- Simple extractions – these are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth and are usually done under local anaesthesia
- Surgical extractions – these include teeth that cannot easily be seen or reached in the mouth, either because they have broken off at the gum line or they have not fully erupted. Performed by a dentist or oral surgeon, surgical extractions require some type of surgical procedure, such as bone removal, removing and/or lifting and folding back all or part of the gum tissue to expose the tooth, or breaking the tooth into pieces (called tooth sectioning). Surgical extractions can be done with local anaesthesia and/or conscious sedation.
Tooth extraction after-care
Since bleeding is normal after an extraction, your dentist will have you bite on a piece of gauze for about 30 minutes to put pressure on the area and allow the blood to clot. Some swelling and discomfort are normal after a tooth extraction. Cold compresses or ice packs can help decrease the swelling. If your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling dissipates, apply warm compresses. Sleeping with your head elevated with extra pillows also may help. In addition, your dentist may recommend you take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for several days. With surgical extractions, which generally cause more pain afterwards, your dentist may prescribe a prescription pain medication.