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Oral and maxillofacial surgery focuses on reconstructive surgery of the face, facial trauma surgery, the oral cavity, head and neck, mouth, and jaws, as well as facial cosmetic surgery.
Patients begin to panic as soon as they hear “oral surgery”. They automatically begin to think they are chronically ill and they are going to undergo a dangerous and painful procedure. However, the truth is that many oral surgery procedures are commonplace and address conditions that many people experience, such as tooth loss, impacted wisdom teeth, or sleep apnea. Many of these procedures are completed in a few hours’ time and patients can resume work or normal activities within a few days.
A dental extraction is the painless removal of the whole tooth, or root from the dental alveolus in the alveolar bone. Dental extractions can take place for several reasons, one of them being removal of a tooth/teeth that cannot be saved due to tooth decay. An extraction is usually a straightforward procedure and can be done by using local anaesthesia even while the patient is awake. Local anaesthesia blocks painful sensations while slight mechanical forces can still be felt. Some extractions are more time consuming than others depending on the integrity of the tooth, the tooth position and shape of tooth roots. Unfortunately, due to preconceived notions, dental extractions are more feared than other dental procedures such as fillings and scaling.
This happens when tooth decay reaches the centre of the tooth which ie the pulp, causing an infection. A root canal procedure (RCT) may help treat the infection. However, if the infection is severe and the tooth cannot be salvaged, an extraction will prevent the infection from spreading any further.
Periodontal disease also known as gum disease is a serious gum infection caused by bacteria that has been allowed to accumulate on your gums and teeth. The earliest stage which is gingivitis is an infection of the gums. The more severe kind of periodontal disease affects the periodontal ligaments and the alveolar bone. Regularly brushing your teeth and visiting your dentist can help prevent periodontal disease. Periodontal disease may result in the loosening of a tooth. In this case, tooth extraction is a possible treatment option.
A tooth is impacted when it is blocked from coming out, or when the gums did not fully erupt preventing the tooth to come out. This is usually the case for wisdom teeth. Your dentist may recommend the extraction of the impacted tooth to prevent it from damaging other teeth. Extracting an impacted tooth may also help lower the risk of infection and overcrowding.
In case of overcrowding in the mouth, the extraction of one or several teeth may be necessary. This is recommended when the patient has to undergo an orthodontic treatment and the orthodontist wants to create room for the teeth to move and realign.
When an accident occurs such as a car collision or a bad fall flat on the face and the patient requires dental treatment, the first option will always be to save the teeth. Dental bonding, veneers, crowns and bridges may be recommended. However if the problem is serious and needs urgent action, a tooth extraction is necessary.
There are mainly two types of dental extraction
A simple extraction is the procedure of removal of teeth that are easily visible and accessible.
A surgical extraction is a slightly more complicated procedure where the oral surgeon must make an incision into your gum, to access a tooth which has not broken through the gum line or not completely grown.
The principles of tooth extraction are essentially the same, be it a simple or surgical tooth extraction case.
Tooth extraction begins with the oral surgeon giving a shot of anaesthetic for the tooth, gum and bone tissues surrounding the tooth that is to be extracted.
When tooth is extracted, the tooth is pulled from its socket in the jawbone. Normally, the tooth is firmly encased in the socket, and held in place by a ligament. The oral surgeon enlarges the socket before he can separate the tooth from the ligament, then out of the socket. The bone that encases the root of the tooth is comparatively spongy. For the extraction part, an instrument called forceps are used to grab on to the tooth and rock it back and forth against the socket walls causing the roots to disconnect from the surrounding tissues.
Your experience during the extraction:
Once the tooth is extracted the socket will be vacant. The oral surgeon will remove any underlying pathological infection, irrigate the socket and give sutures as per requirement.
A clot forms in the socket of the tooth which is extracted. A folded gauze is then placed over the site of tooth extraction and you must bite down on it to create firm pressure, which will control bleeding.
You may be required to retain the firm pressure on the bite for about 45 minutes which means you must not speak, spit or suck on anything during that period.
With your tooth gone, you’ll need time to recover. This usually takes a few days. During this time, you have to reduce the risk of infection, minimize discomfort and generally speed up your recovery.
Your dentist will prescribe you appropriate medications along-with providing you with a certain set of instructions that need to be followed post-surgery for a speedy and proper recovery/healing.
Many people believe that the only wisdom teeth need to be extracted. While it is advised to extract your wisdom teeth since they do not serve any significant purpose, you might need to extract any tooth for several reasons. For example, your dentist may recommend you to remove a tooth that is severely decayed and cannot be saved through an RCT procedure.
Another myth is that a tooth extraction is painful. Many people confuse pressure with pain. What you might be feeling is the pressure induced by rocking the tooth back and forth to loosen the tooth from the socket.
Depending on the type of extraction you undergo, your oral surgeon will use an anaesthetic to numb your mouth. Before a simple extraction, your dentist will inject a local anaesthetic (LA) into various areas of your mouth to numb your teeth and gum tissue. You may feel a slight prick of the needle.
Once your mouth is numb, your dentist uses a special tool to loosen the tooth before removing it using forceps.
Not replacing an extracted tooth can lead to further dental complications.
While surprising to learn, teeth left behind in your mouth will start to shift, moving into empty spaces after an extraction. This shifting can lead to crooked teeth and misaligned bites, affecting the look of your smile. Replacing your missing teeth ensures your other teeth remain in their assigned position, your oral cavity is healthy and your face shape does not change dramatically.
Extractions do not cause loss of eyesight or hearing. Extractions are mere removal of infected teeth and tissues. If your oral surgeon knows of any complications that might occur in your case, you will be informed accordingly.
If you want to know more about Oral and Maxillofacial treatment in Dental World or you are long overdue a check-up why not schedule a consultation with our experienced, friendly dentists. Contact Dental World today.