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Tooth Extractions

A tooth may be extracted for many reasons.  It may be too badly damaged, or decayed, to be saved by root canal therapy, or it could be causing crowding, malocclusion, preventing a tooth from erupting, or be loose from advanced periodontal disease.

Typically a local anesthetic is used to completely numb the area; however, if the patient is apprehensive, or young, the use of general anesthetic may be considered.  

In a simple extraction, a dentist will grasp the tooth with forceps and rock it back and forth to loosen the tooth from the alveolar bone by breaking the ligaments that holds the tooth in place.  When the tooth is pulled, a blood clot will usually form in the socket.
Tooth-Extraction.GIF (10917 bytes)

If the tooth is not fully erupted, it may be necessary to first remove some of the overlying gum and bone tissue in order to access the tooth. 

After the extraction, the initial healing period typically takes from one to two weeks, and some swelling and residual bleeding should be expected in the next 24 hours. 

It is important not to dislodge the blood clot that forms on the wound.   Occasionally, this clot can break down leaving what is known as a dry socket.   This can cause  temporary pain and discomfort that will subside as the socket heals through a secondary healing process.
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Proper care of the area will affect the healing process.  Smoking and allowing food particles to pack into the socket should be avoided; in addition, it is important to take any medication that the dentist prescribes. 
Eventually, new bone and gum tissue will grow into the gap left by the extraction. Tooth-Extraction3.GIF (11342 bytes)

Consequences of tooth Extraction

Having a missing tooth can lead to several problems such as shifting teeth, difficulty chewing, and malocclusion.  Often a dentist will attempt to restore the area with an implant, fixed bridge, or a denture.