Fact: Pretty much no one actually looks forward to having a tooth pulled. Also fact: Sometimes an extraction is the best solution for relieving painful symptoms and improving your overall oral health.
Brandon Kang, DDS, and our team at Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center in Oakland and San Francisco, California, are dedicated to helping every patient get the care and treatment they need to enjoy years of optimal oral health (and beautiful, healthy-looking smiles). While that usually means preserving your natural teeth, there are some instances when extractions are, hands down, the better choice.
Here’s when Dr. Kang may recommend an extraction — and what to expect during and after your treatment.
While Dr. Kang recommends extractions on a case-by-case basis, these are four of the most common reasons for tooth extractions.
Overcrowding is a common cause of crooked teeth. Before braces or aligners can do their job and improve your smile, you may need one or more teeth pulled to make room, so your orthodontics can move your teeth into proper alignment.
Impaction happens when a tooth that’s trying to emerge from your gum gets trapped beneath a neighboring tooth. Unless the impacted tooth is removed, you can wind up with infections, pain, and additional tooth loss.
Some fractures can be corrected with a crown. But if a tooth is badly fractured or broken below the gum line, extraction is usually the best solution.
Some deeply decayed teeth can be preserved with a root canal. But if decay includes most of your tooth structure or an infection extends into your jawbone, pulling the tooth often makes more sense. Pulling a damaged tooth is also the first step in getting a dental implant.
Most teeth can be extracted using minimally-invasive techniques with little trauma to your jawbone and gums. These are called atraumatic extractions.
More complex extractions may require a surgical approach that involves cutting away gum and bone tissue that cover your tooth and then loosening it from the jawbone and ligaments that hold it in place.
No matter which type of extraction you need, your comfort is of paramount importance to Dr. Kang and our team. Before your procedure begins, you receive a sedative to help you relax. Then, your tooth and gum are numbed using a strong, local anesthetic. General anesthesia and IV sedation are also available for more complex issues.
Once you’re relaxed and comfortable, Dr. Kang removes your tooth using the most appropriate technique for your oral anatomy and the specific issue you’re facing. After your extraction, the sedative effect means you’ll need someone to drive you home.
Before you leave our office, Dr. Kang provides you with a complete set of care instructions to help speed your healing. It’s common to have some swelling and tenderness in the area. Using an ice pack and over-the-counter pain relievers is usually all you need to minimize these effects.
During the first couple of days after your extraction, you’ll want to stick to a diet of liquids and soft foods to avoid irritating the area. Don’t use straws, since the suction can dislodge the clot that forms at your extraction site, resulting in bleeding and potential issues with healing.
During the first 24 hours, you can clean the area with gentle rinsing — don’t swish too hard. After 24 hours, you can resume with gentle brushing and flossing in the area, using extra caution around the extraction site until it’s fully healed.
Be sure to follow all your care instructions closely. If you have any questions or concerns, or if swelling persists or worsens, call our office for additional guidance.
Today’s tooth extractions are simpler and less painful than ever, and healing is faster too. To learn more about tooth extraction using the most advanced techniques and technology, call Dr. Kang’s office location that’s most convenient to you or book an appointment online today.