Tooth Extraction

Teeth are important organs to provide proper digestion of food to insure health as well as provide esthetic and psychological well being. For a variety of reasons, teeth often have to be removed. The reasons can be non-restorable caries {decay}, advanced periodontal disease {gum disease}, for lack of space during orthodontic therapy, or teeth that are non-vital where patients do not wish to have root canal treatment. Occasionally they also may need to be removed to facilitate treatment of an underlying condition in the bone or for restorative reasons where they impede placement of a denture. They may also have to be removed if impacted or not fully erupted. Regardless of the cause for removal, a suitable replacement to restore proper function should be the goal.

Removal of teeth can most often be accomplished under local anesthesia without the need for a more extensive general anesthetic. If underlying sensory nerves{nerves carrying feeling} are not in close proximity to the roots of the teeth and it is not necessary to divide a live tooth into pieces to remove it, there should no pain associated with removal of a tooth or teeth. With the addition of nitrous oxide analgesia, even the injection to render local anesthesia causes minimal discomfort, if at all. With the addition of regional blocks, even an infected tooth can usually be rendered comfortable enough to be easily removed.

If extensive removal of teeth is considered, the anxiety level is high, or medical conditions dictate, a modified general anesthetic may be considered. In such cases, a consultation appointment is best to determine the best treatment and anesthesia for the patient. No general anesthetic will be administered on an outpatient basis without a consultation appointment to determine the treatment to be rendered and properly prepare the patient for anesthesia. If the patient has complicated medical conditions, they should discuss the planned removal of teeth with their doctor before making an appointment for the procedure. Should the need arise, the location of our Birmingham office inside the hospital complex affords higher risk patients the comfort of knowing the full services of the hospital and staff are readily available.

Following the removal of teeth, the soft tissues {gum tissues} are usually secured with stitches to reduce bleeding after surgery and speed the healing process. With few exceptions, these are “melt-away” stitches and do not have to be removed. A patient should expect some soreness, swelling and discomfort for a few days after the procedure which can be controlled with medication. Proper diet is important after a procedure but chewing should avoid the surgical site.

A normal routine can be resumed as soon as non-prescription medications can be used for any discomfort. The more extensive the procedure, generally the longer it will take to recover to a normal routine.