There are two types of teeth extractions: simple and surgical. 

Simple extractions remove teeth that are visible.  To numb the pain, local anesthesia will be used.  A general dentist will use two tools, an elevator to loosen the tooth, and a dental forceps to grasp it.  Steady pressure is applied, as the tooth is gingerly moved back and forth until the ligament breaks, and the tooth separates from the bone.

Surgical extractions involve teeth that are not easily accessed or that may not be clearly visible, for instance, wisdom teeth that are still below the gumline or broken teeth.  In these cases, your dentist may have to cut into the soft tissue to reach the tooth.  Sometimes, the tooth will be split into smaller fragments to make removal easier.  General anesthesia is used as this procedure is usually longer and more difficult.  Some general dentists perform surgical extractions, but more often it is carried out by an oral surgeon.

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Why do I need a tooth extraction? 

After losing our “baby teeth,” the next set of teeth are meant to last us through our adult lives.  Not everyone is so lucky, however.  Reasons why you might need a tooth extraction include:

  •  The tooth is severely damaged by decay.

The first option when bacteria caused by tooth decay reaches the center of the tooth, or the pulp, is typically a root canal.  Severe or recurring cases may require an extraction.  Your dentist will go over options and discuss with you the safest and most comfortable remedy.

  • You suffer from periodontal disease. 

Bacteria from dental plaque can lead to an infection of the gums, commonly called gingivitis.  The infection can move from the gums to the ligaments, to the alveolar bone (part of the jaw), and other structures surrounding the teeth.  Any or all of these conditions are signs of periodontal disease.  Severe cases left untreated can cause a loosening of a tooth, or teeth.  Once this happens, extraction is a possibility.

  • Your tooth is impacted. 

When a tooth does not fully erupt or is blocked from coming out, your tooth is “impacted.”  The most common culprits are wisdom teeth.  To avoid infection and damage to surrounding teeth, as well as to make your mouth more comfortable, your dentist may recommend extraction.  X-rays will be taken first, along with a full oral examination.  Your dentist will let you know how many extractions are necessary, whether they can be completed in one visit, and what type of anesthesia is necessary or recommended.

  • You suffer from overcrowded teeth. 

If your teeth are overcrowded or crooked, and orthodontic treatment is not an option, extraction of one or more teeth may be necessary.  Removal of one or more teeth eliminates overcrowding and may allow a dentist to straighten your smile.  

  • You’ve been injured.

If you’re in an accident an suffer dental trauma, the first priority is always to try to save the teeth.  This may require crowns, bridges, bonding or veneers.  If the dentist determines that even those measure will not work, a tooth extraction may be the only option.

While never a first choice, dental extractions to help reduce pain and inflammation and can help curtail infections and other oral complications.  Given that simple extractions are easier to perform, and are less risky with fewer adverse effects, they naturally preferred over surgical extractions.  That being said, your dentist will make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision on the best treatment for you and your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tooth Extractions Anderson, Indiana [IN]

How should I prepare for a tooth extraction? 

Knowledge is the key. Do your research, but then ask your dentist any and all questions you might have.  Preparation can help you feel less anxious and relieve stress.  Sitting in that chair, you should know everything that will happen during the procedure.  

Your dentist or oral surgeon also needs knowledge.  They need to know about you.  Disclose any medical conditions you may have.  Don’t leave out anything, as they could lead to infection or result in unfavorable drug interactions.  Bring a detailed list of all medications you are currently on.

Discuss with your dentist the painkillers and anesthesia that will be used.  You may have a preference that is different from their recommendation.  It’s important to understand any potential side effects.  If you’ve had adverse reaction to any of the drugs being used, be sure to tell your dentist as well.

It is a good idea to fast for at least 12 hours before an extraction.  This may not be necessary though if only a local anesthetic is used.  Your dentist’s office will let you know what’s appropriate for you.  Also, please don’t smoke for 12 hours before and 24 hours after the procedure.

Here’s a couple last few tips:

  • -Wear loose-fitting or comfortable clothing.  Put your hair back and avoid make-up, fragrance, and jewelry.  It’s a trip to the dentist, not a first date.  We won’t judge.
  • -Have a chaperon with you to get you home and resting comfortably.  If anesthesia is used, you may be too impaired to drive yourself.
  • -Consider taking a day or two off work afterwards.  Different procedures will have different recovery times and everyone is different.  Your dentist will tell you what to expect.  Please contact us if you are not recovering as expected.


What happens after the extraction? 

After a tooth extraction, you probably won’t feel great right away.  It may take a day or two.  The anesthesia won’t likely wear off for a few hours either, so your face may feel numb for a while.  Expect to be put on a special diet, albeit temporarily, of soft foods and liquids.  No drinking through straws though.  Also, no spitting or rinsing.  These actions may lead to a dry socket.  Try to prop your head up when laying down.  Avoid the extraction area when brushing teeth.  Follow your doctor’s instructions on taking your painkillers and keep your pills secure. Keep an eye on the extraction site.  There may be swelling, but if more serious symptoms present such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, severe bleeding, shortness of breath or chest pain, call your doctor as you may have an infection. 

Are teeth extractions covered by insurance? 

Our office staff will do their best to discuss your benefits, but your best bet is to call your insurance company before the procedure.  We’ll make sure you have the correct billing codes so there are no surprises.

Anderson, IN

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