To some it may seem trite to be worried about losing a tooth but to many people it can be quite a shock. It can be a realisation we are ageing and that has its own set of emotions!!
Let’s be clear though, losing teeth is not an inevitable result of ageing. In years gone it probably was but not now. A well looked after dentition should serve you well.
There will always be set backs though. Perhaps some decay that has gone a bit too far and a tooth that can’t be root treated for one reason or another? Or perhaps damage to the tooth from trauma, biting on an olive stone for instance, that creates a crack right down the middle of the tooth. This is almost always irreparable and will lead to extraction.
As we can see, even the best looked after teeth can have mishaps that can lead to extraction and the subsequent problems that loss of a tooth bring.
What about the extraction itself?
There is no doubt that for some people the thought of an extraction can bring on cold sweats and palpitations! First things first, let us reassure you that this does not need to be the case. Gone are the days of painful dentistry. All our team understand you will be anxious about an extraction, you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t a little anxious! However, our injection techniques will astound you and once your tooth in numb the tooth can be removed with the minimum of fuss.
I’m not convinced!!
Some of our patients, a very small minority will still not be able to tolerate an injection without a lot more help. For those patients we are able to offer sedation for this type of treatment. Dr Rachel Gibbs is our sedation dentist and her patients say great things about her – as you can see here!!
Sedation involves giving you some medicine that will help you relax, take all the anxiety away but still keep you awake. This means it is very safe and not too complicated. The medicine also has a degree of amnesic quality so you won’t actually remember much about the treatment, just being co-operative and having had it completed, that sounds great doesn’t it?!
How long does and extraction take?
Generally routine extractions don’t take long and can be quicker than most routine fillings. If you have sedation, it will take a little longer due to the time period of having the medicine administered but you will be relaxed and not worried about this. If you do have sedation you will also have to be taken home by someone, you can’t drive after and we advise you take the next day off work until all the medicine is out of your system totally.
What happens after extraction?
Once a tooth has been removed a clot will form in the socket and healing will commence from there. You will need to keep it clean to avoid infection and over the next few months you will see and feel the bone shrink around the socket.
We always like to discuss options for replacement of the tooth prior to extraction so you know where you are heading and the time scales. Sometimes we will replace straight away, other times we will allow a period of healing.
Importantly though, we want to discuss this in detail with you prior to extraction, that way you don’t feel the loss too greatly and know what is ahead.
In our next blog we will discuss some of the alternative ways to replace a missing tooth.