Tooth Extractions in Washington DC
Dr. Pollowitz & Dr. Brown at our highly-rated dental practice in Washington DC make every effort to help patients keep their teeth healthy and free of decay. At-home brushing and flossing, routine professional cleanings, fillings, root canal procedures, bonding, gum disease prevention, and several other services we offer are designed to maintain dental health. In some cases, however, a tooth may not be able to be saved. A compromised tooth may require extraction in order to alleviate any issues and provide space for an alternative treatment.
Reasons for a Tooth Extraction
Often the most common reason for extraction, or the pulling of a tooth, is decay. Often, too much of the tooth has been affected to be filled successfully to restore function. The dentist will, in these cases, recommend extraction to stop the pain and prevent cavities from spreading to surrounding teeth.
Other issues that may require a tooth extraction include:
- Infection: When an infection is too severe to be remedied by antibiotics or a root canal procedure, the tooth may have to pulled to eliminate the infection as well as any pain it may be causing.
- Periodontal disease: If advanced stages of gum disease have caused a patient’s teeth to loosen, they may need to be extracted to pave the way for future treatments and reduce the risks of serious infections.
- Trauma: Facial trauma can happen to anyone, and though the repercussions like cracks or chips are often able to be repaired, this isn’t always the case.
- Overcrowding: Some patients may have too many teeth to fit in the mouth properly. In this case, it can be best to extract one tooth to make room for another.
- Increased Risk of Infection: Patients with weakened immune systems or who are more susceptible to the impacts of infection may need to have a tooth extracted. These may be teeth that under ordinary circumstances would be able to be restored, but for some patients eliminating even the slightest chance of developing an infection would be more beneficial in the long run.
In some instances, we may need to prescribe antibiotics before extracting a tooth to eliminate any existing bacterial infections. If a tooth is pulled before treating infections, bacteria could potentially enter the bloodstream, leading to more widespread health issues.
What Happens During an Extraction?
The dentist will need to numb your tooth and its surrounding tissues before the procedure begins. The local anesthetic needs to sit on the placement for about five minutes. This can help keep patients comfortable during the extraction procedure.
The dentist will then administer an anesthetic injection to the site of the extraction, which will provide complete numbing effects after about ten minutes.
Once the area is numbed, the dentist will begin the extraction process. This requires moving the tooth back and forth to widen the socket enough for the tooth to be released. This can cause the sensation of pressure to the patient with minor to no discomfort. Once the tooth is released, the dentist will clean the surrounding area and dress the site for healing.
In some situations, when a simple extraction may not be possible, the dentist may have to section the tooth before removal. The sectioned tooth is then removed by the pieces it has been reduced to, as opposed to the tooth being removed as a whole entity.
If the tooth is broken off at the gum line or is impacted within the gum tissue, the dentist may perform a surgical extraction. This procedure is much the same as a simple removal, but the dentist will need to make small incisions in the gums to remove the tooth. The incisions are then closed with dissolving stitches after the tooth is extracted.
After an extraction, the dentist will place a gauze pad in the space left behind to slow any bleeding and protect the socket while a blood clot forms. The patient may need to change the gauze a few times before the bleeding subsides, and our office recommends keeping gauze in place for at least three hours after your procedure.
At our practice, we strongly caution against drinking from a straw for at least 24 hours, as this could dislodge the clot and lead to bleeding as well as infections. Smoking and drinking alcohol tend to have similar effects and are recommended against.
To reduce any swelling present, ice packs can be used. Though we recommend keeping up with standard at-home dental hygiene practices, patients should take extra care to avoid brushing the extraction site for the first few days following the procedure.
After 24 hours, patients may begin using a rinse made of eight ounces of warm water and one-eighth teaspoon of salt. Strenuous activity should be avoided for a couple of days.
If you are in need of a tooth extraction in the Washington DC area, please give us a call or fill out our contact form today to discuss your treatment plan needs. We welcome any questions regarding the process and aim to restore your smile as best as possible. Learn more about oral hygiene.