Reasons for Surgical Extraction
Your teeth not only make your smile look beautiful and friendly; they also serve many important functions in your mouth. They help facilitate eating, lend structure to your face, and even help you speak and enunciate clearly. That is why we here at Lake Norman Oral & Facial Surgery work hard to help our patients preserve their natural teeth. However, sometimes, a tooth does require extraction. In some cases, a surgical extraction may be necessary for the overall wellbeing of the patient.
What is a Surgical Extraction?
There are two main types of dental extractions, simple and surgical. Simple extractions are fairly straightforward. During a simple extraction, we will start by carefully loosening up the tooth with a tool called an elevator. Once the tooth is adequately loosened, we will then reach into the patient’s mouth with our forceps and extract the tooth. A simple extraction is often performed under local anesthetic.
A surgical extraction is significantly more intensive than a simple extraction. Unlike a simple extraction, which can be completed with just local anesthetic, a surgical extraction may also require sedation. Common types of sedation can include inhaled (such as nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas) or intravenous sedation. During a surgical extraction, we may need to place an incision in the gums to expose the tooth. We will then carefully remove the tooth with our tools (which may include our elevator and our forceps), clean the surgical site, then suture the site closed.
When is a Surgical Extraction Necessary?
Surgical extraction may be required under a variety of different circumstances. One common reason that we may need to perform a surgical extraction on a patient’s tooth is that it is impacted. This can happen during a wisdom tooth extraction, especially if it has not yet erupted above the gumline.
We may also need to perform a surgical extraction on a tooth if it has broken off or become so severely damaged (by either injury or decay) that it is at or below the gumline. When we cannot visibly see your tooth above your gums, then we will need to make incisions to expose it and remove the tooth.
Aftercare for a Surgical Tooth Extraction
It is extremely important that you closely follow our aftercare instructions following a surgical dental extraction. After your extraction, we will pack the surgical site with gauze. This will help encourage a clot to form. You do not want this clot to become dislodged, as it can lead to a very painful condition called dry socket.
After your extraction, reach for a diet of soft foods. Do not use a drinking straw after your extraction, since the pressure can dislodge the clot and cause dry socket. After 24 hours, rinse your mouth out with salt water and continue to do so throughout the day. Abstain from all tobacco products, such as cigarettes, after your extraction. We may advise over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, to help with the pain. If you notice any signs of an infection, such as fever and chills, foul discharge, or swollen lymph nodes, please contact us immediately.
If you are interested in learning more about surgical, dental extractions, or you would like to set up an appointment with us here at Lake Norman Oral & Facial Surgery, please give us a call today at (704) 255-5888!