Despite the incredible techniques that exist today for protecting and repairing teeth, there are times when a tooth simply must be removed from its place in your jaw for the sake of your overall oral health. This is called tooth extraction, and when it becomes necessary, it’s important to undergo it as soon as possible to prevent worsening pain or infection. Signs that you may need a tooth extraction include: severe tooth pain or pressure difficulty chewing swollen gums jaw pain or stiffness oral pain or bleeding as the result of traumatic injury Although it can be a scary prospect, tooth extraction is a common dental procedure that causes minimal discomfort and has a relatively speedy recovery time. Here at Bunker Hill Dentistry, we will examine your mouth to determine if there is any way of saving your natural teeth, and if not, we make sure you are relaxed and comfortable for an anxiety-free tooth extraction procedure. When You May Need an Extraction There are three main categories of problems with teeth that create the need for removal. The first is overcrowding or impaction, in which the teeth are growing in, or erupting, abnormally and there is a risk of jaw and/or gum pain, among other ill effects. This is the issue behind wisdom tooth removal and the most common reason for tooth extractions. A second cause is infection. While a decayed tooth can sometimes be saved via a root canal–in which infected pulp and damaged tooth material are removed from the tooth canal and then a filling applied–this procedure weakens the tooth and may need to be followed by a full tooth extraction down the road. The third main cause is trauma or damage. A tooth cracked or broken beyond repair by accident or injury has to be extracted, typically on short notice, so patients often need to take advantage of emergency dental care services. How the Extraction Procedure Works There are two types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical. The former involves a tooth that is readily visible in the mouth, while the latter involves a tooth that hasn’t erupted in the mouth or is broken at the gum line. No matter which type of procedure is required, we will ensure you are sedated to the full extent necessary to keep you relaxed and pain-free throughout the process. Read more about our sedation options. In a simple tooth extraction, the dentist will apply local anesthetic around the tooth so that you only feel pressure, not pain. Then he will use a tool called an elevator like a lever to gently rock the tooth back and forth to dislodge it from the jawbone, then remove it from the mouth with forceps. This is a relatively quick and simple procedure. A surgical extraction is more complicated and either local or general anesthetic may be used. The dentist must make a small incision in the gums in order to reach the tooth so he can remove it. He may also need to remove bone around your tooth or cut the tooth into pieces before it can be extracted. Finally he will sew up the incision with dissolvable stitches to stop any bleeding. Why Bunker Hill Dentistry? Dr. Le and his wife and office manager Ann Le Specialists – Our experienced dentist, Dr. Le, has performed countless oral surgeries that involve tooth extraction and he is supported by our accomplished team. Serene setting – Our office is designed to provide a calm, relaxing environment to help put your mind at ease during treatment. Take a tour. Client satisfaction – We have one mission – total client satisfaction. “Care, Comfort, Convenience” is our guarantee to every client. More about Bunker Hill Dentistry. Reception room at Bunker Hill Dentistry State of the art – We utilize the most advanced technology such as the i-CAT 3D x-ray machine, All-On-4® implants and an anesthesia-delivery wand, for faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment. Conveniently located – Located in Memorial, just a short drive from Houston’s city center. Find us on the map. Tooth Extraction Aftercare: What to Expect During Recovery A simple extraction will heal more quickly than a surgical extraction, but you should have relief within a couple weeks–if not a couple days–although complete healing can take up to two months. If you’re having pain, over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be taken for relief. Although opioids were commonly prescribed in the past for procedures such as wisdom teeth extraction, most dentists now feel these powerful drugs should be used only as a last resort. An ice pack on your cheek when you get home from your appointment will keep swelling down. Try to eat soft foods (e.g. yogurt, applesauce, scrambled eggs) at first and drink lots of fluids, but don’t use straws for the first several days. After 24 hours, gently swish a small amount of salt in water around your mouth once a day to aid healing and kill bacteria. Your sutures will fall out or dissolve on their own after a week or so, but until they do be careful of brushing or flossing around them. As you heal you may start adding foods back into your diet. Restoration Options Of course, once you’ve had a tooth removed, you’ll be missing a tooth somewhere in your mouth. You may wonder if you have to replace a missing tooth if the gap is not readily visible, or if you can just live without it. The answer is, yes, you need to replace it. This is because when a tooth is extracted but not replaced, it can cause difficulty chewing, teeth misalignment, bite changes, jawbone loss that makes the lost tooth harder to restore in the future, and even TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders. Dental Implant | Before and After Your options for restorative treatments include: Bridges: A bridge is like a partial denture, consisting of a false tooth color-matched to the teeth adjacent to the gap, which serve as the bridge’s anchor. See how bridges can be used to replace one or several teeth. Dentures: For patients who can’t have bridges, partial dentures made with false teeth and pink plastic to resemble gums are a great alternative. Find out why dentures continue to be a popular solution for tooth loss. Implants: Dental implants are an advanced solution to missing teeth in which a replacement false tooth is embedded in the jaw by a titanium post. Unlike bridges or dentures which eventually have to be replaced, with good dental care implants are a permanent restoration method. Discover more benefits of choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth. These treatments will improve not only the aesthetics of your smile, but the functionality of your teeth, as well. Learn more about all your restorative dentistry options at Bunker Hill Dentistry. Schedule An Appointment Not been to Bunker Hill Dentistry before? Read how to prepare for your first visit in our FAQs.