Tooth Extractions in Washington DC & Alexandria VA
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Tooth extraction is a last resort when no other treatment is likely to succeed. Teeth may need to be extracted due to:
- Trauma or decay resulting in a badly damaged tooth
- An overcrowded mouth
- Preparation for orthodontic treatment
- Dangerous decay or infection to the point that a root canal will not fix the problem
- Fractured teeth
- An extra tooth blocking another from properly growing in (known as a supernumerary tooth)
- A non-restorable tooth
- Risk of infection (normally only if the immune system is compromised and the tooth presents a danger)
- Various cosmetic reasons
Types of Extractions
Simple extractions are used on teeth that have erupted from the gums and are easy to access. The area will be numbed with a local anesthetic, and the tooth loosened by wiggling it back and forth until it can be removed. If necessary, the tooth can be divided into pieces for easier removal. Simple extractions are normally performed on teeth that are decayed, injured, or which need to be removed in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
Surgical extractions are common for teeth that are too difficult to remove with simple techniques, including impacted teeth, teeth that have not yet grown in, or teeth that are broken at or below the gum line. The extraction process is the same, except that a small incision may need to be made in order to access the tooth itself.
After a Tooth Extraction
Once the affected tooth is removed, a gauze pad will be placed in the socket, and if necessary, the socket will be stitched up. A blood clot will then form in the socket, protecting it while it heals.
After the procedure, care must be taken to ensure that the clot remains in place. Avoiding eating on that side of the mouth or drinking through a straw will prevent the clot from dislodging. If it comes loose, the bone will be exposed causing a painful condition called dry socket. It may also be necessary to take antibiotics after the extraction to prevent infection.
When a tooth is removed, it is common for the surrounding bone to begin to degenerate. In order to prevent rapid loss of bone, it may be necessary to place a bone graft in the socket during extraction in order to preserve the bone (ridge preservation.)
Dental implants will also help preserve the jawbone. For patients who will be getting dental implants, the bone will need time to heal first, so an appointment will be made for approximately 4-6 months later to install the implant.
Dr. Justin Zalewsky, Dr. Michael Hoge, and the Precision Periodontics and Implant Dentistry team offer a range of periodontal treatment options to the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. area, including residents seeking a periodontist in Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Chevy Chase, Falls Church, Fairfax, and Springfield. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Zalewsky or Dr. Hoge, or request your appointment online.