Tooth Extractions – Cause & Effect: Revolutionary & Unique Treatments
What is a tooth extraction? A tooth extraction involves taking out or removing a tooth from the socket in the bone where it is seated. The very act of performing a tooth extraction can result in prolonged pain being a by-product. The main reason a tooth needs to be extracted is that it is too far damaged to be repaired using conventional means, such as a filling, crown or some other form of treatment1.
Reasons teeth need to be extracted
According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, a very loose tooth will also need to be removed if it can’t be saved using methods such as bone replacement surgery which is also known as a bone graft. Some additional reasons that teeth need to be extracted could be:
- People that require braces may need to have teeth extracted to make room for other teeth that need to be moved into the correct place2.
- Sometimes, additional teeth below the gum surface need to rise and certain teeth may be obstructing the tooth from rising into the jaw2.
- Radiation from treatments to the head or mouth area may need to have teeth removed that were exposed to the radiation2.
- There are cases where baby teeth don’t fall. This then means that they get in the way of permanent teeth2.
- People receiving treatment for cancer in the form of drugs may need teeth extracted. The reason for this is that the teeth of users of these drugs can deteriorate, due to the fact, the immune system is weakened from consuming these drugs2.
- Wisdom teeth often need to be removed before they completely rise through the gums. They might need to be removed if they contain some decay, if they cause any pain or contain an infection or a cyst2.
- A cyst refers to a pod of tissue, which is made up of either soft material or a liquid3. It is common for these teeth to get stuck in the jaw, which prevents them from rising.
- If this happens, it can cause pain and swelling by the irritation of the gums. In this case, the tooth will need to be removed to prevent any further pain by allowing the wisdom tooth to rise up2.
These reasons can create considerable pain from a tooth extraction, particularly in their jaw and discomfort for the patient.
If you currently take drugs to treat something else
If you have any medical condition that requires intravenous treatment with bisphosphonate drugs, be sure to let your dentist know. Any tooth extractions need to be done before treatment with this drug begins. Following bisphosphonate treatment, if teeth are extracted, the chance of osteonecrosis in the jaw (also known as death of the bone) is amplified2.
An x-ray should be taken by your dentist, who is going to perform the procedure. They will use it to create a plan that outlines the optimal way to remove the tooth2. Removal of a tooth is usually considered a safe procedure in most situations.
The possibility exists for the procedure to be complicated as the act of performing the extraction may allow bacteria that is harmful to your health into your bloodstream. If you are at risk of developing a severe infection, you can help combat this side effect of a tooth removal by taking antibiotics before and after the procedure4.
What to wear
You should wear a short sleeve shirt or something that has sleeves that can be rolled up easily. This will allow the surgeon to have relatively easy access to the vein, to place the intravenous line. In addition, nothing should be eaten for a period of six to eight hours before the extraction.
Here are some additional tips:
- Call your dentist if you are suffering from flu like symptoms, such as a cough or blocked up nose, up to one week before the procedure. There are anesthetics that can have adverse health effects if taken following a cold. If this is the case, the dentist may need to change the planned anesthetics.
- During the night before the procedure, if you feel nauseous or experience vomiting, the first thing you need to do in the morning is call the dentist’s office and let them know. The anesthesia that was going to be used may need to be altered or the extraction may need to be rescheduled.
- Do not smoke on the day of surgery. If you do, it can increase the chance of the problem of dry socket occurring, which I will elaborate on later2.
Make sure your dentist is informed about this, but also, let your dentist know your complete medical history, any supplements, vitamins or medications you take. You also should inform them if you possess one of the following conditions:
- Congenital heart defect
- Liver disease
- Damaged or man-made heart valves
- Impaired immune system
- History of bacterial endocarditis (Click here to see what this is)
- Any artificial joint, such as a hip replacement4
There are a number of risks that are involved in a tooth extraction. While these are not a common occurrence, you should be aware of them as you may still encounter problems.
- The blood clot that is within the socket where the tooth was extracted may fall of which will cause excessive bleeding.
- Other teeth may be damaged during the procedure.
- The local anesthesia that the dentist gave you during the procedure or even any additional medicine given may be causing a reaction.
- Damage to your nerves can occur.
- Tools that are used in the procedure may cause fractures to the bones in your mouth.
- The wound of where the tooth was removed may be taking a long time to heal.
- Swelling or bruising may occur at the site of the treatment.
- You might still be experiencing pain as the pain from the extraction has not completely stopped.
- The place the injection was given may cause discomfort or can be painful.
- Infection is not uncommon5.
During the tooth extraction
If you are worried about the procedure, you can tell your dentist and a sedative might be given to you. This acts to relieve any anxiety you are experiencing and triggers a state of relaxation in you, but not one that is strong enough to put you to sleep6.
Under certain circumstances, you need to have the tooth extracted under general anesthesia in which you will need to go to hospital. In this case you will be asleep and not feel any pain at all while your tooth is extracted6.
The dentist will make the area your tooth sits in (also called the socket), wider using a pair of forceps that have been specially made for the purpose. The tooth will then be moved from side to side to loosen it by the dentist6. This force that is applied needs to be adequate to break the periodontal ligaments that stop the tooth from moving7. This is done until it is finally loose enough to be extracted6.
Prolonged pain of a tooth extraction
Having a tooth extracted used to be a very painful ordeal and patients used to wonder how long does pain last after a tooth extraction. This was as the pain of a tooth extraction used to last for prolonged periods and the pain would also reach extreme levels7.
This pain continued until the introduction of anesthetics to assist in managing the pain after a tooth extraction. Long awaited were the days of no pain following an extraction, but these days have arrived. Today, pain of a tooth extraction has now been reduced quite considerably but there can still be issues with prolonged pain after a tooth extraction7.
As part of the extraction, the dentist should administer several applications of anesthetics, meaning that you should not experience any pain whilst the tooth extraction is taking place7. However, you need to be ready in case you are to experience any pain where to tooth is being removed from, due to pressure that is put on the tissues within the mouth by the tools used for the removal7.
The level of pain that is to be expected is in direct proportion to, how difficult the tooth was to remove7.
After the tooth extraction
- There will be bleeding in your mouth where the tooth was removed and some gauze will be put in there to stop the bleeding. This gauze also aids in the forming of a blood clot following the extraction.
- The area will be very susceptible to swelling but an ice pack should help with this.
- Some numbness may exist in your teeth and lips, but give it several hours and this will be gone.
- The pain relievers will wear off in time, meaning you start to feel some pain. The best thing to do here is ask your dentist how you can manage the pain once the medicine to relieve the pain wears off5.
Dry socket after tooth extraction
When a tooth is removed, normally the socket of where the tooth was is filled by a blood clot. Possibly, the blood clot might get dislodged or washed away which will leave the bone in the empty socket uncovered. This is very painful as the bone is exposed to air, saliva, etc, and the condition is called dry socket10. This pain is one of the symptoms of a dry socket after a tooth extraction. If this does occur, you need tell your dentist as soon as possible. They will cover the socket with a dressing that will need to remain on there for several days until a new clot has formed10.
You can actually see a dry socket. There will be no evidence of a dark clot of dried blood, you will just see white coloured bone instead. 2 days after the procedure, a dry socket will become apparent, so keep an eye out for them. Ignoring a dry socket will mean acute levels of pain, even in areas as high up as your ear10
Ear pain after a tooth extraction
To remove a tooth, requires a lot of force. A lot of force is required to dislodge a tooth in the removal process. You will experience pain, which could be expressed as ear pain. It is not a common occurance It is not uncommon for someone who has just had their tooth removed to experience ear pain9.
Nerves that travel all around your head join you teeth and jaws. There is a nerve that is connected to the socket from where the tooth was extracted. When the tooth gets extracted, the nerve sends out the pain in response to the procedure. This signal travels up the nerve, to around the area of your ear. This is the reason some people feel ear pain after a tooth extraction9.
Jaw Pain after a tooth extraction
As I have already elaborated on, to perform a tooth extraction, the periodontal ligaments that prevent the tooth from moving, or keep it in place, must be broken, which can be a cause of jaw pain7.
Once the anesthetic has started working, stopping the pain, the socket where the tooth is seated must be widened using a tool called an elevator which is a pair of special forceps6.
What to do for jaw pain after a tooth extraction
Jaw pain after a tooth extraction is a common occurrence as the procedure usually causes the joint that joins your jaw to the rest of your mouth to become saw. While the procedure was taking place, the mouth needs to be held open for a long period and irritation to the jaw muscles and joint may be the result of any pressure the dentist has any force the dentist has to place on them. This most likely will cause the jaw joint to become saw7.
Tips for when you experience jaw pain after a tooth extraction
These are tips and tricks for things you could try to alleviate any jaw pain after a tooth extraction.
- Gently massaging the muscles around your jaw
- Apply hot compresses multiple times per day
- Pain medication bought from your chemist may help reduce the pain from your jaw
- Do not eat hard foods as these might aggravate the wound
- Avoid opening your mouth too wide which will allow the relaxation of the jaw joint and its muscles7.
Recovering from a tooth extraction
What do you do after tooth extractions? This section contains some tips and tricks of things you can do after tooth extractions.
- Apply something cold, such as a bag of frozen peas, for 10 to 20 minutes at once, to the side of your cheek. This acts to reduce any discomfort and aids in reducing the swelling.
- The pain can be reduced by taking antibiotics.
- You need to ensure that you keep any physical activity to a bare minimum for several days following the procedure5.
- Whatever you do, do not smoke for 24-72 hours as smoking after a tooth extraction can create a lot of negative consequences. One of these consequences is that of dry socket.
- If smoking after a tooth extraction is something you feel you really need to do, gently rinse your mouth straight afterwards with a mouth rinse comprising of warm salt water8.
- You need to keep your mouth as clean as possible. This means, keep brushing your teeth, but keep the tooth brush away from your wound of the extraction site and you need to keep doing this for several days after the procedure6.
- Rinse your mouth out with warm salt water several times per day, but you need to wait several hours after the procedure before you start6.
An appointment with the dentist won’t be required after the tooth extraction, unless the dentist needed to place stitches during the procedure and you will need to have them removed6. It takes approximately 1 to 2 weeks for the area at the extraction site to heal. In some cases, when a tooth is removed, the adjacent teeth will move towards each other over time to fill the gap. This can create problems and implants might be suggested as your bite is affected10.
Tooth extractions should be a last resort…….
A tooth extraction should be the last resort if other methods of saving a tooth are not possible. Increase the health of your mouth and possibly avoid the problems associated with needing to have a tooth extracted with the same fish oil supplement that I take.
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