Adult teeth are supposed to last for a lifetime, but this is not always the case. You may need an emergency tooth extraction if you have a severely damaged or decayed tooth. Emergency tooth extraction will be necessary, especially if the tooth is causing extreme pain. Usually, a dentist will do everything to save your tooth, including repairing it with fillings and crowns. However, if there isn’t any other option, emergency tooth extraction may be the only option. If you need emergency tooth extraction services in Lomita, CA, Washington Dental can assist you.

Reasons Why You May Need Emergency Tooth Extraction

Dentists employ several dental technologies to help save your natural tooth as much as possible. At times, the damage resulting from decay, infection, or injury is so severe that extraction becomes essential. The need for emergency tooth extraction arises when the dentist can’t use any other dental treatment to save your tooth. Below are some of the reasons why you may need to visit a dentist for an emergency tooth extraction:

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Also known as the third molars, wisdom teeth erupt in the late teens or early twenties. Most people can keep their wisdom teeth. However, some people do not have ample room in their jaws. If you do not have enough room on your jaws, the wisdom teeth may push your other teeth out of the way or get stuck within your gums. You should contact your dentist as soon as possible if you experience intense pain at the back of your mouth. The dentist will examine you to determine whether you are experiencing wisdom teeth pain. Depending on the circumstances, the dentist may recommend a wisdom teeth removal to avoid compromising your oral health. If the impacted teeth are stuck beneath your jaws, the dentist will have to rely on an x-ray to reveal the impacted teeth.

Severe Tooth Decay

Tooth decay results from a build-up of plaque and tartar. A dentist will only save your tooth if the remaining healthy tooth structure is more than the decayed structure. If the cavities have grown beyond what the dentist can repair using dental crowns, fillings, or root canal, you may need an emergency tooth extraction. Some of the typical signs of tooth decay are toothache, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, grey, black, or brown spots on the teeth.

If you have advanced tooth decay, you will likely experience a continuous toothache that keeps you awake or occasional sharp pain in your tooth without any trigger. Tooth sensitivity makes you experience pain or tenderness while eating or drinking something cold, hot, or sweet. Tooth decay often appears as a white spot on the tooth and then progresses over time.

There are five main stages of tooth decay: initial demineralization, enamel decay, dentin decay, pulp damage, and dental abscess. Emergency tooth extraction might not be necessary for the early stages of tooth decay, but it might be the only treatment option in the advanced tooth decay stages.

Fractured Tooth Under the Gums

Whenever you chew food, your teeth absorb a lot of impacts. Therefore, if your teeth fail to fit well together when you bite down, you might end up cracking your lower molars. You might also be at a higher risk of a cracked tooth if you have a large filling or recently underwent a root canal treatment. If a tooth has a fracture that extends beneath the gum line, you will need an emergency tooth extraction.

Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis, the early stage of gum infection and inflammation, is often reversible through good oral hygiene and regular teeth cleanings. However, the same case does not apply to a gum disease that progresses into periodontitis. A significant percentage of Americans aged 30 and above have periodontitis. Periodontitis affects the gums and other structures that support the teeth. Your teeth will have less support once the gums recede, and they are highly likely to fall out. Dentists cannot cure periodontitis. However, a dentist can slow the progression of periodontitis through root planing and scaling.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a pus-filled swelling that occurs due to an oral infection. A dental abscess is typically very painful and appears on the inside of a tooth. In some instances, a dental abscess might not cause severe pain, making it impossible for you to realize that you have an abscess. However, a dental abscess could spear to the tooth structure if left untreated and necessitate an emergency tooth extraction.

Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth could also be the cause of an emergency tooth extraction. Some patients have more teeth than what can fit in their jaws. Your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction to prevent crowded teeth. Many patients have their teeth extracted for orthodontic reasons to help them achieve a beautiful smile. Many orthodontists and dentists prefer not to extract a tooth before orthodontic treatment, but extraction is necessary for certain patients.

Other factors that may prompt an emergency tooth extraction include trauma to the jaw and a broken tooth that is impossible to repair. Your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction if one or more of your teeth increases your risk of infection. A tooth needs to be removed if it is a danger itself and poses risks to the teeth surrounding it.

Signs and Symptoms that Indicate You Might Need an Emergency Tooth Extraction

The following signs and symptoms may indicate that you need an emergency tooth extraction:

  • Pain in your gums
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • A bad taste in your mouth that persists over time
  • Discoloration or darkening in your teeth
  • A swelling that makes it difficult to open your mouth
  • Pus or a white fluid in your mouth
  • Loose, unstable, or wriggling teeth
  • Extreme tooth pain

How Emergency Tooth Extraction Works

If you have a tooth that needs to be removed, you might be wondering about how an emergency tooth extraction works. It is normal to feel a little nervous if you have an extraction coming up, especially if it is your first time to have an emergency tooth extraction. However, knowing what to expect helps you feel more at ease with the tooth extraction procedure so that by the time the big day comes, you will be ready.

Typically, a tooth extraction process is quick and easy. The procedure adopted to remove a tooth will vary depending on the severity of the damage or infection and the tooth’s location. Your dentist will likely follow the following steps while extracting your tooth:

  • Inject local anesthesia into the area that surrounds your teeth
  • The anesthesia will take several minutes to work, after which your mouth and jaw become numb
  • The dentist will start by widening the tooth socket
  • The dentist will rock your tooth from side to side until the tooth is loose to pull out

Since the surrounding tissue will be numb, you will not experience any pain during the tooth extraction procedure. However, you will feel some pressure on your tooth. The dentist uses a tool known as an elevator to loosen the tooth. He or she will then use forceps to extract the tooth. After the extraction, it might be necessary for the dentist to place several stitches over the extraction site. The stitches are often self-dissolving stitches.

In most cases, dentists use local anesthesia to numb the tooth extraction site and ensure the patient does not experience any pain during the procedure. However, if you have impacted teeth or have several teeth extracted, the dentist may administer local anesthesia to help you sleep through the procedure.

If you experience pain during tooth extraction, you should inform your dentist because it could mean that the anesthesia was ineffective. After the tooth extraction, the dentist will have you bite down on gauze to help stop the bleeding. The dentist will then advise you on the instructions to follow at home to enhance the healing of the tooth extraction site.

Simple Extraction

A simple extraction involves using local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the tooth. The dentist then uses a special tool known as an elevator to loosen the tooth and pulls the tooth out using forceps.

Surgical Extraction

During a surgical tooth extraction, a patient may receive both local and intravenous anesthesia. Intravenous anesthesia helps a patient feel relaxed and calm through the procedure. Depending on a patient’s medical conditions, a patient may also receive general anesthesia. If the dentist administers general anesthesia, the patient will remain unconscious during the surgical tooth extraction procedure. During a surgical tooth extraction, the oral surgeon or dentist cuts into the gum. The dentist may have to cut your tooth or remove the bone around the tooth before removing it.

How Long a Tooth Extraction Takes

An oral surgeon or a dentist performs an emergency tooth extraction, and it is a relatively quick and straightforward dental procedure. Simple tooth extraction involves removing a visible tooth. Removal of broken, impacted, or teeth that lie below the surface involves a more complicated dental procedure. If you are only having a single tooth extracted, the procedure takes between 20 and 40 minutes. However, you may spend a little more time at the dentist’s office if you have several teeth extracted. How long it takes to remove a tooth depends on several factors, including the tooth's location.

Before an Emergency Tooth Extraction

Before scheduling a tooth extraction procedure, your dentist will first take an x-ray of your tooth. You should ensure that you inform the dentist if you’re on any medications, supplements, vitamins, or over-the-counter drugs. For example, if you intend to undergo another treatment with an intravenous drug called bisphosphonate, you should inform your dentist about it. The dentist should perform the tooth extraction before the drug treatment to avoid putting your jaw at risk of bone death, also known as osteonecrosis.

Before you undergo a tooth extraction, you should inform your dentist if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Liver disease
  • Hypertension
  • Adrenal disease
  • Damaged heart valves
  • An artificial joint
  • History of bacterial endocarditis

Before you undergo a tooth extraction, your dentist may want to ensure that these conditions are treated or stable.

At times, your dentist may prescribe some antibiotics before the tooth extraction procedure if:

  • The surgery is expected to be extended.
  • You have a weakened immune system or an infection
  • You have a specific medical condition

It is advisable to keep certain aspects in mind for the day of the tooth extraction to enhance a quality treatment:

  • If you are receiving intravenous anesthesia, you should wear loose-fitting or short-sleeved clothing. You should also avoid eating or drinking six or eight hours before your appointment.
  • You should avoid smoking before the operation.
  • If you have a cold, you should inform your dentist to find out if you should reschedule the procedure.
  • If you feel nauseated after being under anesthesia before the procedure, you should inform your dentist. The dentist may reschedule your appointment or use different anesthesia.
  • If you receive general anesthesia during tooth extraction, you should avoid driving yourself home. Instead, you should have another person drive you home.

Risks Involved During a Tooth Extraction

What are some of the risks of undergoing an emergency tooth extraction? There are several risks of undergoing tooth extraction. However, if your dentist recommends tooth extraction, it means that the risks of extraction outweigh the chances of complications.

A blood clot naturally forms in the socket after an extraction. A socket is a hole where the tooth has been removed. If a blood clot fails to form or dislodges, it could expose the bone inside the pocket, a condition known as dry socket. If this happens, the dentist may protect the area by putting a sedative dressing on it and allowing the dressing to remain for several days. After several days, a new clot will have formed.

Other risks of undergoing a tooth extraction include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bleeding that lasts for more than 12 hours
  • Cough
  • Severe chills and fever, signaling an infection
  • Redness or swelling or the surgical site
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain

If you experience any of the outlined symptoms, you should inform your dentist.

What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction

After an emergency tooth extraction, it is normal for your gums to bleed slightly. It is also normal to feel dull pain and experience some swelling. However, you should contact your dentist if these symptoms persist for over 24 hours. Usually, the full healing period takes around one week. Therefore, there is no need to be overly concerned, even if you happen to experience some symptoms several days after the extraction. You can ease the discomfort by applying an ice pack to the outside of your mouth and staying away from hard foods.

Ensuring That the Recovery After Tooth Extraction Goes Smoothly

How can you ensure that recovery goes smoothly after a tooth extraction?

  • You can reduce swelling by applying an ice pack on your cheek directly above the extraction site for around 10 minutes several times a day.
  • After the tooth extraction, the dentist places gauze on the extraction site to aid in clot formation and reduce bleeding. You should ensure that you leave the gauze on, usually for three to four hours, until you stop bleeding. However, if the pad is soaked with blood, you can remove it and replace it with another one.
  • You should take medications as prescribed by the dentist, including antibiotics and over-the-counter medication.
  • You should avoid jumping back to your routine after tooth extraction. Instead, you should relax for 24 hours following a tooth extraction.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid rinsing your mouth after tooth extraction, and if you have to spit, ensure that you do so gently.
  • When you lie down, ensure that you use a pillow to prop your head up
  • You can brush or floss your teeth, but you should ensure that you avoid the extraction site
  • For the first few days after a tooth extraction, ensure that you eat soft foods like pudding, yogurt, and applesauce to avoid exerting pressure on the tooth extraction site.
  • As the tooth extraction site begins to heal, you can include other foods into your diet.

Look out for any signs of infection after tooth extraction. Consult your dentist if you experience persistent pain. Also, contact your dentist if you notice symptoms like pain, pus, fever, or any form of drainage from the incision. These signs could mean that you have an infection. Make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.

The Risk of a Dry Socket

Anyone who has undergone a tooth extraction is at risk of a dry socket. A dry socket is relatively rare, despite being the most common complication of tooth removal. The likelihood of experiencing a dry socket varies depending on the type of tooth extraction. You are more likely to develop a dry socket after having your impacted wisdom teeth removed. A blood clot is supposed to form to protect the hole in your gum as it heals after tooth extraction. A dry socket may occur if a clot fails to form or dislodges from the gum. A dry socket could leave the bones and the nerves in your gums exposed. Therefore, you should never ignore a dry socket or fail to seek treatment because it could lead to an infection or other complications.

Identifying a Dry Socket

How can you identify a dry socket after a tooth extraction? First, you should stand in front of the mirror, open your mouth, and examine the tooth extraction site. If you see an exposed bone where your tooth used to be, you are experiencing a dry socket. You may also have a dry socket if you experience persistent throbbing pain in your jaw. The pain may stem from the extraction site and extend to your eye, ear, neck, or temple. You are likely to experience this throbbing pain on the same side as the tooth extraction site.

The pain resulting from a dry socket develops within three days after a tooth extraction, although this may vary from person to person. Other common symptoms of a dry socket include an unpleasant taste or smell in the mouth. You should consult your dentist right away if you are experiencing any of the outlined symptoms.

The Risk of a Dry Socket

Scientists and researchers aren’t sure what prevents a blood clot from forming after a tooth extraction, leading to a dry socket. However, experts assume that a dry socket may occur due to contamination when foods, liquids, and other things enter the mouth. If you have trauma at the tooth extraction site, a dry socket may occur. A dry socket may also occur due to a complicated emergency tooth extraction or poor aftercare. For instance, if you poke the extraction site with your toothbrush while brushing, a dry socket might occur.

You are more likely to develop a dry socket if you have ever had a dry socket before. If you have a history of dry sockets, you should inform your dentist about it before the tooth extraction. Even if the dentist cannot prevent a dry socket from occurring, the dentist will be alert and initiate immediate treatment if a dry socket occurs. People who are at a higher risk of developing a dry socket include:

  • People who use tobacco products or smoke cigarettes
  • If you are taking oral contraceptives
  • Failing to take good care of the wound

Diagnosis of a Dry Socket

It is essential to immediately contact your dentist or dental surgeon if you experience extreme pain after removing your teeth. Your dentist will determine whether you have a dry socket and recommend the ideal treatment procedure. In some instances, the dentist may recommend an x-ray to enable them to rule out other conditions before concluding that you have a dry socket. Other factors that could cause pain include roots or bones at the extraction site of a bone infection.

Find an Emergency Dentist Near Me

You might need to undergo an emergency tooth extraction when you least expect it, especially if you experience severe tooth pain that won’t go away. Working with an experienced and reliable emergency dentist yields the best results and reduces the risk of complications. If you need a reliable emergency dentist in Lomita, CA, contact Washington Dental. Contact us at 310-326-5183 and speak to one of our dentists.