If you are experiencing tremendous pain stemming from tooth decay, a damaged tooth, or an infected one, the last thing you want is to wait for days or weeks before visiting a dentist. Managing extreme pain can be difficult. You might want to consider an emergency dentistry service to alleviate the pain and handle the problem. Unfortunately, if the pain is tremendous and the tooth is beyond repair, emergency tooth extraction might be the last option.
The most dreaded prospect by most dental patients is tooth removal because it involves pulling the tooth out of its socket on the jawbone. At Washington Dental in Cason, CA, we understand the anxiety associated with exodontia, so we provide different forms of tooth removal and ensure you are comfortable throughout the procedure. We have highlighted below the reasons for an emergency tooth removal, symptoms that you need an emergency tooth extraction, and how the extraction process works.
Definition of an Emergency Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction is a dental procedure where a dentist removes or pulls out a tooth because of trauma, infection, or crowding. The tooth removal becomes an emergency if immediate treatment is necessary to save the tooth, stop bleeding or alleviate the pain.
What are the Reasons that Causes You to Need Emergency Tooth Extraction?
If you wonder what could trigger you to visit an emergency dentistry service near you for an emergency tooth extraction, there are multiple reasons. When you are experiencing extreme tooth pain, it might be due to decay, infection, or trauma, and a dentist can do a lot to repair the teeth. Your dentist can use dental crowns or fillings to fix the problem. However, in some instances, the damage might be too extensive for repairs, making emergency tooth extraction the only solution. The primary reasons why your dentist might recommend emergency tooth removal are:
When the Wisdom Teeth is Stuck in the Surface in the Jaw
Wisdom teeth are the third molars that erupt when you are in your late teens or early twenties. While for some people, these teeth can grow and erupt without any problem, for others, the space in the jawbone might be limited to allow more teeth to grow. When this happens, these third molars tend to push other teeth out of the way but fail to erupt, ending up stuck beneath the gum lines.
If you start experiencing tremendous pain, swelling, or irritation in the wisdom teeth, you should visit an emergency dentist right away. After an x-ray, the dentist can tell the molars are stuck in the jaw bone and perform an emergency extraction before the problem becomes unmanageable.
According to the American Dental Association, the significant causes of emergency tooth extraction are crowding, trauma, and disease. When it comes to trauma, the leading common cause is sports, and the appropriate treatment depends on the kind and extent of the injury and location. If it’s the front tooth that has fractured beyond repair, an extraction might be the only option.
Another cause of trauma on the teeth is an accident. If you have had an accident that has caused trauma in your mouth, you will need emergency dental care. The dentist will examine the tooth and recommend an x-ray on the area that has been affected. If the damage is extensive or you have a prognosis and the affected area is infected, the only option will be an emergency extraction.
Progressed Periodontal Disease
Periodontitis is an oral infection that results from gingivitis or gum inflammation that goes untreated. Usually, gum inflammation is reversible with proper cleaning and hygiene but when the decay progresses to the deep pockets of the jaw bone, five millimeters or deeper into the jaw, saving the tooth is no longer an option. The teeth might fall off on their own or need extraction.
An experienced emergency dentist might refer you to a periodontist to evaluate the condition and see whether scaling and root planing can save the teeth. Doing so ensures that the dentist has explored all the available options before conducting an extraction. If there is no saving the teeth, extraction is the only option. Remember, you can prevent periodontal disease from progressing by visiting a dentist right when you observe inflamed gums and pain. However, if the damage is extensive, you will need an emergency dentistry service for an extraction.
If you have inadequate room in your jaws to accommodate all teeth, they will not fit in the mouth, and this might cause misalignment. Tooth misalignment can be discomforting because you will have non-functional teeth, and your smile will be less appealing, which might adversely affect your social life. The solution to this problem is tooth removal or extension of the jaw bone to create more space for the alignment. Tooth extraction is often the best when the misalignment causes severe pain or uneasiness in the gums. After the extraction, the dentist might then refer you to an orthodontist for specialized care.
Severe Dental Caries
When dental cavities go untreated, they extend deep in the tooth, exposing the nerves, thus causing high tooth sensitivity and extreme pain. You are wondering why your dentist would recommend an emergency tooth extraction in place of a root canal. If the damage has not affected the soft tissue of the tooth and the pulp, the root and the affected pulp can be reshaped, the cavity filled, and a crown placed on top, thus saving the tooth.
When the damage to the pulp is beyond repair, the dentist might not have any other option but to perform an emergency extraction.
Under-Gum Tooth Fractures
Habits like chewing or an accident can cause your tooth to fracture below the gum line. When chewing, you apply a lot of impact on the teeth, especially those in the back of the mouth. If these teeth aren’t correctly aligned, the molars are likely to experience fractures. If you had undergone a root canal or filling recently, the fracture might extend beneath the gum line, hence needing an emergency extraction.
A dental abscess is a pus-filled swelling inside the mouth that stems from infection. You might not notice the abscess in the initial stages, but when it progresses, it results in severe pain that requires an emergency tooth removal to drain the pus and treat the abscess before it spreads to other teeth or body parts.
Remember, if your teeth are at risk of infection, you should consider pulling them out on time before the infection spreads to other parts of the mouth or body.
What are Some of the Indicators that You Need an Emergency Tooth Extraction?
If you are not a dentist or don’t possess knowledge in dentistry, it can be difficult to tell if what you are experiencing constitutes a dental emergency or not. Luckily, several symptoms might indicate you need an emergency tooth removal. These are:
- Severe or extreme tooth sensitivity
- Teeth discoloration or darkening
- Tooth pain
- Pus or white liquid in the mouth
- Wriggling or unstable tooth
- Pain in the gums
- Mouth odor that doesn’t go away
How Does Emergency Tooth Extraction Work?
When you visit your dentist for an emergency tooth removal, they are likely to apply two approaches.
A simple extraction happens when teeth are visible above the gum line and can be pulled out using forceps. The procedure is conducted using local anesthesia with or without medication for anxiety.
During a simple extraction, your dentist might decide to administer anti-anxiety medication if you deal with anxiety or conscious sedation. The local anesthetic injected in the extraction area will numb the tooth being pulled out, the jaw bone, and the gums around this area. It takes a few minutes before the area becomes numb, but you are likely to notice.
Once this is done, the dentist will widen the tooth socket and then clench the tooth using extraction forceps. They will move the tooth forward and backward until it is loose enough for extraction. Suppose the forceps are not effective for pulling out the tooth. In that case, the dentist will use a luxator which is an incision cutting device that perfectly positions between the gums and the tooth and is used in loosening teeth for removal. Alternatively, the dentist can use small screwdrivers like elevators to jam between the extraction tooth and the nearby jaw. By exacting the pressure on the tooth, the elevators expand the tooth socket and separate it from the ligaments.
Remember, you might experience a slight squeeze on the tooth during this process, but you shouldn’t feel extreme pain. If you experience excessive discomfort, talk to your dentist about it to prevent further damage.
A surgical extraction occurs where the tooth is covered or cannot be easily reached because it has been impacted or has fractured below the gum line. Your emergency dentist or oral surgeon can perform the surgical procedure, which involves gum tissue or bone removal to expose the tooth or break it into sections.
If you have a health condition or suspect you might react to the local anesthetic, talk to your dentist about using general anesthesia instead. They will administer the same to young kids in an emergency tooth extraction through the surgical procedure.
When the procedure starts, the dentist will sedate you then numb the area of the tooth being extracted. The oral surgeon may utilize a drill, squeeze on the tooth using an elevator or forceps to pull out the tooth.
However, if the tooth being removed is covered by gum tissue or bone in the surrounding areas, the oral surgeon must cut it and lift it back or remove it to obtain better access or view of the tooth. Sometimes, the tooth might be deeply anchored in the roots, forcing the dentist to do what is called a tooth section, which involves breaking the tooth into small pieces and removing each piece at a time until the entire tooth is removed.
The dentist might then need to suture back the lifted gum tissue or add natural or artificial bone on the open socket left by the extracted tooth. Sutures or stitches that are not absorbable will require you to make another visit to the oral surgeon after a week or so for them to be removed, but the stitches used are absorbable. You don’t need to worry about them because they will fragment on their own.
Dental lasers and electrosurgery are gaining popularity among oral surgeons and dentists during tooth extractions, but this doesn’t necessarily mean extraction scalpels and extraction drills are no longer in use. Dental lasers use light beams, while electrosurgery utilizes monitored heat to cut. The advantages of using these modern extraction tools over the conventional ones include:
- Greater accuracy
- Low probability of harm or injury to adjoining structures
- The procedure becomes less invasive because it causes reduced bleeding and pain
- Quicker recovery
Modern extraction has many advantages, but this doesn’t mean it lacks shortcomings. The demerits of these advanced dentistry tools include:
- Hefty costs
- They can’t be used for direct tooth extraction
- When being used, they produce a burning flesh smell
What can you Do After an Emergency Tooth Extraction?
After tooth extraction, there are several actions you should take. These are:
- Have enough rest and avoid any activity, including exercise, for not less than 24 hours. While resting, place your head in an upright posture on the pillow.
- Because bleeding is typical with tooth removal, you must allow the wound to clot because clotting is pivotal in recovery. The dental expert will ask you to bite a gauze cloth right after the extraction to squeeze the wound to stop the bleeding. You should let the gauze stay in the same position for at least three hours until it’s thoroughly soaked in blood.
- Swelling and discomfort are expected after the procedure, but you can control them by applying cold compresses around the extraction area for ten minutes after every application.
- To clean and maintain hygiene, you should rinse your mouth using warm saline water only 24 hours after the extraction.
- Take all the OTC or prescribed medication by your dentist because these will help relieve the pain and reduce the swelling.
Other pointers that can help with tooth extraction aftercare include:
- Avoid rinsing the mouth within 24 hours after the procedure
- Take soft diets like milk, pudding, or mashed potatoes daily for two days after the emergency tooth removal. When you start chewing, begin with quick to chew foods and avoid using teeth close to the opening.
- Brush your typically but keep off the area close to the socket
What should you Avoid After Tooth Removal?
On top of the aftercare considerations stated above, you should stay away from particular eating habits or activities.
- Stay away from any food or activity that might remove the clot on the wound or prevent the wound from healing.
- Avoid drinking through the straw, smoking, heavy rinsing or spitting, or any rigorous activity for at least 48 hours after the emergency tooth removal. Some of the chemicals in a cigarette might interfere with the clot, thus increasing the likelihood of a dry socket.
- Keep off alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, hot liquids, and crunchy food for around three days
- Stick to homemade water and salines when brushing and rinsing your gums
What are the Possible Complications You Might Experience After Extraction?
An emergency tooth extraction is not always a smooth procedure. Complications might arise due to the procedure you must be aware of when you decide to extract a tooth. These complications are:
- Accidental damage of the surrounding teeth
- Scrappy extraction increases the risk of oral infection. Remember, you might be undertaking an emergency tooth removal to prevent an infection. However, if a piece of the tooth root is not removed, you might be at risk of another infection.
- Broken jawbone resulting from the pressure exerted on the bone during tooth removal
- If the extraction procedure was for a top row tooth, a hole might occur in the sinus area. This might heal on its own, and if it fails to do so, you should pay a visit to the dentist.
- Oral infection might also be possible after the procedure, but the dentist will prescribe antibiotics before and after the procedure if you notice any signs of an infection.
- Nerve injury is also possible, mainly when the wisdom tooth being extracted is close to a nerve. The primary cause of nerve injury is the dental drill, although the injuries are usually temporary.
- Without an opposition tooth, the tooth opposite the extraction socket is likely to shift from its socket after some time. This could leave its roots and cause sensitivity to temperature change. Further, when multiple teeth are extracted and the socket is left open for a long time, the density of the jaw bone will reduce, affecting your facial appearance.
- Front tooth extraction can affect your smile and overall appearance
- If a patient is taking bisphosphonates, medications used to treat bone cancer, metastasis, multiple myeloma are at risk of having rotting jawbones after the extraction. The reason being bisphosphonates affect the teeth and the bones, preventing cell breakdown from working. So, whenever you are on these medications, look for another alternative instead of the emergency extraction.
It’s worth noting that emergency tooth extraction, regardless of being a solution to dental conditions, can have severe complications if the extraction socket is left open. You might experience jawbone loss, teeth moving out of their sockets, or gum recession, making it crucial to replace the removed tooth right away. At Washington Dental, we recommend dental implants, dental bridges, or dentures for replacing extracted teeth.
What is a Dry Socket?
The blood clot that forms when you bite the gauze is essential in your recovery. The clot protects the nerves and the underlying jawbone from air and food exposure. When the blood clot fails to form or is dislodged, it might form a dry socket at least two days after the extraction, causing mouth odor or bad taste. Dry sockets are likely to occur:
- After a challenging or traumatic extraction, mainly extraction of molars
- If you are 30 years or older
- If you are a smoker
- If you have bad oral health habits
- In women taking contraceptives
Even during an emergency, if you are a woman on contraceptives, you are encouraged to consider emergency tooth extraction after you have exhausted all the available options. If the extraction is not an emergency, you can wait until your estrogen levels drop.
If you cannot prevent a dry socket and end up with one, there is no cause for alarm because the symptoms are treatable. All you need is to visit your dentist, who will place an analgesic dressing on the opening to alleviate the pain and enable recovery. The dressing will be replaced daily for the next five to ten days until these symptoms reduce or disappear entirely.
When Should You Call the Dentist?
As mentioned above, you might experience a few issues after the extraction, like swelling, pain after the local anesthetic wears out, and bleeding. Although these are common effects, if the pain persists or the bleeding doesn’t stop, you should reach your dentist immediately. You should call your emergency dentistry service if:
- The swelling worsens rather than reducing
- You experience problems swallowing
- You are vomiting
- You have redness or fever because these are indicators of an infection
- You experience tremendous pain at the extraction area because it could be a sign of a dry socket
Recovery from an emergency tooth removal can take up to one week. The gum area will take not less than three weeks to heal, while a damaged jaw will take no more than six months for a full recovery. During this time, gum tissues and bone grow into the opening covering the gap. However, you should replace the missing tooth as soon as possible to prevent other dental problems.
Find the Right Emergency Dentistry Care Near Me
If you are looking for an emergency tooth extraction, you should consult with experienced emergency dentistry care for outstanding services. Our emergency dentists at Washington Dental in Carson, CA, are ready to help you with the emergency. Call us today at 310-217-1507 for any questions regarding our emergency dentistry services.