It is very common for adults to need a tooth pulled. Tooth loss is so common that an estimated 69% of adults 35 to 44 have lost at least one adult tooth. The most common reasons for needing a tooth extracted are Periodontal Disease, Fractures, injury, and tooth decay. When the tooth can’t be saved by root canal, crown, or another procedure, the tooth might need to be extracted.
Tooth decay (cavities) or other damage can extend to the blood vessels and nerves at the center of a tooth (called the pulp). If this happens, bacteria has easy access to enter the pulp, creating an infection. Many times this infection can be reversed with a root canal, but an extraction might be needed.
Sometimes an extraction is needed to prepare the mouth for orthodontic alignment (like Invisalign). If a tooth is crowded, too big for the mouth, or is impacted (won’t erupt), then the tooth might need to be extracted to allow for proper alignment.
Before the procedure, we will first inject a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be extracted. A general anesthetic might be needed in some cases so you sleep through the procedure.
Then, we use forceps to grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth. This loosens the tooth from the jaw and ligaments. If the tooth is impacted (not erupted), we usually have to cut away any gum or bone tissue covering the tooth before extraction.
Remember that a little bit of bleeding is normal after an extraction, so a dentist will apply sterile gauze to the area.
Now, you’ve probably heard about dry sockets. After a tooth is extracted, a protective blood clot is formed by the body. It’s really important to keep this blood clot in place so the area can heal. This clot is what allows the body to heal the area so we want to keep it firmly in place. If this clot breaks loose, the bone in the socket gets exposed, causing a painful condition called dry socket.
Here are a few things you can do to keep the clot in place and prevent dry socket: