Oral Surgery & Extractions
Oral Surgery defines any surgical procedure performed in or around the mouth. The most common form of oral surgery is called a tooth extraction, in which one or more teeth are removed from the mouth.
Some other common forms of oral surgery include:
- Wisdom Teeth Extraction
- Dental Implants (from Single to Full-Arch Cases)
- Bone Grafting
- Dental Anesthesia Services (Sedation)
Generally, oral surgery is performed when an oral condition becomes too severe for treatment by less invasive procedures. Your dentist will provide a detailed treatment plan for any dental surgery to make sure that you feel informed and comfortable with your options.
There are many reasons your dentist may choose to extract one or more of your teeth. Most tooth extractions are a result of severely damaged teeth or an overcrowded mouth with misaligned teeth; wisdom tooth extractions also account for a large portion of all tooth extractions.
You may require a tooth extraction if you:
- Have impacted teeth, or teeth that are growing in on top of each other
- Have large teeth or a small mouth, with little room for teeth to fit comfortably
- Develop any foreseeable issues with your wisdom teeth
- Have severely damaged, rotted, or loose teeth
The tooth extraction procedure begins with your dentist applying a local anesthetic to the gums around the targeted tooth. If your tooth is deeply rooted or partially under your gums, your dentist may then apply a stronger anesthetic in the form of a shot, or a general anesthetic through an IV. Your dentist will then pull the tooth out, or break parts of the tooth, to extract it.
Recovering from Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction typically takes less than an hour, and recovery depends on the severity of the case and the type of tooth that was removed. For baby teeth, or teeth that were already rotted or loose, you may be able to resume normal eating habits within a few days. However, for deeply rooted teeth, wisdom teeth, or multiple tooth extractions, your dentist may apply stitches, and your recovery may take a few days more.
Your dentist will provide you with detailed instructions on keeping your mouth clean to allow your wounds to heal; in most cases, there are a few important steps to a speedy recovery.
- Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist, and use an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling
- Avoid physical activity; even light labor can cause heavier bleeding, rupture your stitches, or lead to headaches
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
- Avoid hard foods, and don’t use a straw; the sucking motion from a straw can lead to a dry socket, a painful consequence of tooth extraction
- Keep your mouth clean by brushing your tongue and other teeth, and rinse your mouth with warm salt water to prevent bacteria buildup
If your dentist recommends a tooth extraction, be sure to make an appointment for the procedure right away. Allowing an infected or impacted tooth to go untreated can cause severe health problems, such as the spread of infection or excruciating mouth pain. If you feel you may need a tooth extracted, call your dentist to discuss your treatment options.