Extracting teeth is historically the best-known procedure performed by dentists. Before anesthesia was discovered, removing the tooth was the simplest and least painful way to stop toothache and prevent death from infection. Today the Marconi Dental Group has many tools and techniques to save damaged teeth, such as fillings, root canal therapy, crowns and even veneers. Yet in certain circumstances, such as with severe gum disease, significant trauma or a crack in the root, the tooth cannot be salvaged and must be extracted. Here we explain the two basic tools used in tooth extraction.
The Dental Elevator
A dental elevator takes many different shapes and forms, but essentially it is a tool that works like a lever. As its name suggests, it lifts the tooth up and out. Some teeth can be removed strictly by using an elevator.
The thin end of the elevator is worked underneath the exposed part of the tooth, between the tooth and the jawbone. By working the elevator, the tooth is then pried out of the root socket. This usually works well since the root is generally narrow at the bottom and wider at the top, so the further up the tooth moves, the easier it becomes to lift.
When the elevator cannot make much progress, or the tooth shape does not allow its use, dental forceps are another tool available for extraction. Essentially, they are like dental vise-grips or a pair of pliers. This tool firmly grabs the tooth, allowing the dentist to wiggle it in the socket, creating space between the roots and the socket walls. When there is sufficient separation between the roots and the jawbone, the tooth is removed with either the forceps or a return to the elevator.
Oral Surgery for Impacted Teeth
In some cases, especially with wisdom teeth, the tooth is either underneath another tooth or has not even erupted. In these situations, surface-level tools like a forceps and elevator must be accompanied by surgical procedures to expose the tooth. While these extractions can be performed without general anesthesia, many patients choose this option due to the greater complexity of the procedure.
Extraction Results Vary
Some teeth are pulled in less than a few minutes. Other teeth, especially the rear molars, can take significantly longer. Patients often feel pressure on their jaw during the extraction and will likely have post-procedural swelling, bleeding, and possibly even bruising. It all depends on the ease of the extraction.
Local anesthesia should prevent pain during routine extractions. Obviously, this is a time when some patients desire anti-anxiety medication, oral conscious sedation, or nitrous oxide. All of your pain relief and sedation options are discussed with you before the procedure. While the thought of extraction may cause anxiety, there is absolutely no need for you to feel the least bit anxious while in the dental chair.