We always try to save natural teeth, and that is what you would prefer as well but sometimes extraction may be the only possible option. A dental extraction is the removal of a tooth from the mouth. It is performed for multiple reasons like:
- Tooth decay involving the infection in nerves and blood vessels in the tooth and where root canal treatment cannot be done
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Orthodontics (braces) – you may have to have teeth extracted to create space and so other teeth can be brought into line
- Periodontal disease – bacterial infection under the gum can lead to loss of bone resulting in the tooth becoming loose
- Teeth that have been damaged by trauma
In any instance, if you have undergone extraction, there could be few postoperative problems. It would be good for you to be aware of them so you do not panic and contact your dentist if any concern.
Some common risks after extractions are:
- Allergic reactions can happen to medications or anaesthetics used for the extraction.
- Anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications can help to manage the following symptoms: Post-operative pain, stiffness of the adjoining or nearby muscles, brushing and swelling
- Continued bleeding and infection of the area are less common and may require further management if they occur, such as treatment with antibiotics for an infection. It is better to contact your dentist of you are experiencing continued bleeding.
Other uncommon risks are:
- Numbness – There is the possibility of injury to the nerves of the face or tissues of the oral cavity during the administration of anesthetics or during the extraction, which may cause a numbness of the lips, tongue, tissues of the mouth and/or facial tissues. This numbness is usually temporary but may be permanent. If you are experiencing prolonged numbness, it would be best to inform your dentist about it,
- Opening of sinus (oroantral communication) – The extraction of the upper molars is associated with a risk of opening of the maxillary sinus, which will need to be repaired. Generally symptoms of open sinus are non-healing socket, open communication between nose and mouth, bad breath. If your dentist has advised risk of opening of sinus after extraction, avoid coughing, sneezing, smoking and using straw.
- Dry sockets – When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot naturally forms over the area which leads to healing. This blood clot may be dislodged prematurely, which can lead to a condition known as osteitis or dry socket. Generally onset of dry socket symptoms starts few days after extraction. It is best to contact dentist for treatment of dry socket.
- Delayed Healing – If you have unusual delayed healing, then need to make sure if not taking any medication which causes delayed healing. Some medications, such as bisphosphonates used in the treatment of osteoporosis or some cancers, can affect the healing process of the jaw following Tooth extraction so that the recovery takes longer than usual. Also, individuals who have a history of radiation treatment directed towards the head and neck area have an increased risk of developing a condition known as osteoradionecrosis after having a tooth extracted. This involves necrosis and death of the bone underneath the extracted tooth due to damage to the blood vessels that serve the bone, as a result of exposure to radiation. Generally, your dentist would have checked this before extracting teeth.
- For some patients, particularly those who have lost several back teeth, collapse of the bite may occur. This is also known as loss of vertical dimension of occlusion. As a result, front teeth can get damaged and changes in the muscle contractions can eventually lead to symptoms such as dry, chapped or cracked lips.