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Diagram of a tooth being extractedAt Drs. Miller & Beitz Implants and Periodontics of Richmond, our goal is always to prevent potential problems with your teeth and gums. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. If you have a problematic tooth that is causing you severe pain, you may need tooth extraction. Extraction involves the removal of a tooth to improve your oral health.

Reason for a Tooth Extraction

Extraction is usually a last-ditch effort to alleviate painful symptoms and prevent a problem from worsening. The tooth in question is usually too damaged or decayed to be repaired. Periodontal disease is also a common reason for an extraction.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. An extraction can help stop the infection from spreading to surrounding teeth. When the infection spreads to the center of a tooth, we may first recommend a root canal to help save the tooth. A compromised immune system can increase your risk of infection. Sometimes, this increased risk may be reason enough to pull a tooth.

Extraction may also be a necessary part of orthodontic treatment. Removing a tooth can make space in a crowded mouth to help move your remaining teeth to their proper position. Crowded teeth can also lead to other problems with your oral health, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In some cases, there is not enough room for the tooth to erupt above the gums (impacted teeth). Impacted teeth may need to be removed to eliminate abscesses and severe pain.

The Two Types of Extractions

There are two major types of extractions: simple and surgical. A simple extraction involves the removal of a tooth that has already erupted above the gumline. The tooth will be loosened from the socket using an “elevator.” We then use a pair of forceps to remove the tooth from the mouth.

A surgical extraction involves the removal of a tooth that broke off at the gumline or is yet to erupt. Surgical extractions are most common for wisdom teeth, also known as our “third” molars. By the time they erupt there is usually not enough space in the jaw to accommodate wisdom teeth. This can create a whole host of problems for your surrounding teeth.

The tooth is typically broken up into several pieces during a surgical extraction. This makes it easier to remove from the socket. In some cases, we may need to remove a small portion of the surrounding bone as well.

After a Tooth Extraction

Once the tooth is removed, the areas will be packed with gauze to reduce bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. We may also perform a bone graft to prevent deterioration before you can receive a restoration (usually a dental implant). Closely follow our post-operative instructions to avoid potential complications like dry socket. Dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form or becomes dislodged, leaving the socket (and bone) exposed to the elements. Luckily, this condition only develops in about three to four percent of all extractions. If you notice severe pain, be sure to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible.

Schedule Your Appointment

If you are experiencing significant problems with one of your teeth, we can help. We may even be able to save the tooth from extraction! Call (804) 285-4867 to schedule your appointment today.
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