When a tooth has become damaged or broken due to decay, in most cases your dentist works on fixing the tooth with a crown, filling or other types of dental treatments. However, when the damage is severe, the tooth will need to be removed or extracted out of its socket positioned in your jaw bone.
There are 2 main types of tooth extraction procedures which include:
• A Simple Extraction
These procedures are used on teeth that are visible in your mouth. This extraction involves the dentist loosening the tooth using an instrument known as an elevator, followed by using forceps to extract the tooth.
• A Surgical Extraction
These procedures are more complex in nature and are used when the tooth has broken at your gum-line or the tooth has not yet erupted through the gums. An oral surgeon makes a tiny incision in the gum in order to surgically extract the impacted-wisdom tooth or the broken tooth.
The Step By Step Process Of A Tooth Extraction
1. Numbing The Tooth
To start the tooth extraction procedure the dentist first anesthetizes the tooth as well as the gum tissue and bone that surrounds the tooth. This is administered in the form of an injection.
2. The Dentist Will Use Specific Tools
Dentists use various tools in order to apply pressure or to grasp teeth. Some of these instruments look like pliers known and “extraction forceps”, while others are a type of specialized lever known as “elevators.”
• Dental Elevators
The dental elevator looks similar to a narrow type of screwdriver, with a handle and a specially designed tip or “blade” portion. The tip of this instrument is designed in such a way that it is wedged between the tooth and the ligament space as well as the surrounding bone.
The elevator will be forced into the space and then twisted around, where the tooth will be pressed against and rocked around in the walls of the socket. This assists in expanding the socket shape and to separate your tooth from the ligaments. This process ensures that the tooth slowly becomes more mobile. In certain cases, your dentist may be able to completely extract the tooth using only this instrument. If the dentist is unable to remove your tooth with this device, they will move onto the extraction forceps to remove the tooth completely.
• Extraction Forceps
These plier-like instruments are designed to grasp onto teeth. Your dentist will typically use various types, each that has a design that will be tailored to:
• The tooth shape that needs to be removed such as the incisors that have 2 roots vs. molars that have 3 roots.
• Where the tooth is located in your mouth, like the back vs. front, or the right-upper molar vs, the left-lower molar.
The dentist will use these forceps to deliberately and firmly rock the tooth in a back and forth motion. The bone which surrounds the teeth is compressible, which means the socket will begin to expand. As this expansion occurs the side-to-side motion that the dentist uses will increase.
Over and above the side-to-side motion, your dentist will rotate the tooth back-and-forth and this twist like action is what helps to tear away the tooth from its ligaments.
3. What Can You Expect To Feel During A Tooth Extraction Process?
The local anaesthetic that your dentist uses will numb the area effectively enough to inhibit the nerve fibres from transmitting pain, but not the ones that relay the pressure sensations. You can expect the following:
• You will feel a bit of pressure
• You should not feel pain
• You may hear some noise associated with a breaking or snapping sound
4. Closing The Site Of Extraction
As soon as your tooth has been successfully extracted your dentist will start to close up the surgical site. This will involve gently curetting the walls associated with the socket that is now empty to remove any pathological or infected tissues. This is followed by irrigating the area with a solution of saline to remove any tooth fragments or loose bone that remain.
Your dentist will then use finger pressure in order to compress the expanded sides of the socket. This will restore the original shape of your jaw bone and assist in controlling the bleeding. Stiches are usually only placed after a “surgical extraction” or when you have had a number of teeth removed in one session.