Generally speaking, dentists perform two types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical. Just as the name implies, a simple extraction is a relatively straightforward procedure that includes removal of a tooth that has already erupted through the surface of the gum tissue. But in some instances, the dentist may be required to perform steps in addition to those required for a simple extraction. This type of procedure is called a “surgical extraction” and is somewhat more involved than a simple, routine extraction. For patients in and around the Cedar Park, Texas area, we have compiled the following explanation of what is involved in surgical tooth extractions, as well as under what circumstances you might need to have this procedure.
What is a Surgical Tooth Extraction?
Before we discuss surgical extractions, it helps to understand what’s involved in a simple extraction. When you need to have a pulled using a simple extraction method, your dentist will use dental tools (typically forceps and an instrument called an “elevator”) to remove the tooth. The process begins when the dentist thoroughly numbs the area around the affected tooth. Then, using forceps, the dentist will gently rock the tooth back and forth to loosen it from the socket. Finally, using both a dental elevator and forceps, the dentist will remove the tooth from the socket and apply gauze to the empty socket to stop the bleeding and allow a clot to form inside the socket.
A surgical extraction, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated than a simple procedure. Any time a dentist needs to make an incision in a patient’s gum tissue in order to access a tooth prior to removing it, that process qualifies as a “surgical extraction.” In some instances, after making an incision in the gum tissue, the dentist may be able to perform the same steps as a simple extraction in order to remove the tooth. But in other situations, it may be necessary for the dentist to trim away bone tissue and/or cut the tooth into pieces in order to remove it. Most surgical extractions require the dentist to use sutures to close the incision after the procedure.
When Is a Surgical Tooth Extraction Necessary?
There are several issues that might necessitate a surgical tooth extraction as opposed to a simple procedure, including the following:
- Impacted teeth – When a tooth is unable to erupt through the gum surface and grow in a normal position inside the mouth, it’s called an “impacted tooth.” This condition most commonly occurs with wisdom teeth, which are actually a third set of molars that grow at the very back of a person’s mouth, behind the other molars. Impacted teeth remain underneath the surface of the gum tissue and often at least partially encased by bone. Impacted wisdom teeth can become quite painful if they’re not removed, and removal requires surgical extraction.
- Broken teeth – If a tooth becomes badly broken, to the point where very little of the tooth remains above the surface of the gums, the dentist may need to make an incision in the gums in order to gain access to the remainder of the tooth and remove it.
- Teeth with large, curved and/or long roots – When the roots of a tooth are large, curved or quite long, it may make it difficult for the dentist to remove the tooth. In these instances, surgical extraction may be required.
It’s also possible for a procedure that starts out as a simple extraction to turn into a more complicated procedure. This can occur, for example, if a tooth is broken during the course of a simple extraction and there’s not an adequate amount of tooth left above the gum line for the dentist to extract it through a simple procedure, or if the roots of a tooth are too difficult to remove with a simple extraction. Your dentist will keep you informed throughout the course of your tooth extraction procedure so you will know what steps are necessary to complete the procedure.
Having Multiple Teeth Pulled
If you need to have multiple teeth pulled, talk to your dentist about the best way to proceed. While it’s certainly safe to have more than one tooth pulled at once, many dentists recommend extracting one tooth at a time if possible. This is primarily for the comfort of the patient.
Although anaesthetic and dental sedation methods make it possible for a patient to undergo multiple extractions at once and not feel any pain during the procedure, having more than one tooth pulled at a time makes it more difficult for the patient to recover at home afterwards. If you need to have more than one tooth extracted, talk to your dentist about the best way to get that accomplished.
Anaesthetic and Dental Sedation Methods
No discussion of the steps involved in a surgical tooth extraction would be complete without mentioning anaesthetic and dental sedation methods. While it’s true that this procedure may sound frightening, there’s really no reason to be nervous about having a tooth extracted – even having one surgically extracted. That’s because modern dental technology provides dentists with many options with regard to anaesthetic and dental sedation methods, each of which is designed to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the entire process. In fact, most patients feel very little if any discomfort when have a tooth extracted. And you can choose what level of dental sedation you prefer – from routine laughing gas that is administered when you’re in the dentist’s chair to more potent oral sedation that you take in the form of a pill prior to arriving at the dentist’s office for your appointment. These sedation methods, used in conjunction with anaesthetic to completely numb the affected tooth and surrounding gum tissue, allows dentists to perform surgical tooth extractions while keeping their patients comfortable and pain-free. To find out more about the steps involved in a surgical tooth extraction, contact your Cedar Park, Texas dentist today.