A tooth extraction is one of the most dreaded dental health procedures for most people. A dentist will seek to save your tooth if possible to maintain your oral health and prevent the risk of further complications. However, in some situations, injury or extreme discomfort could lead to a dental emergency and potentially necessitate tooth extraction. Tooth extractions are always done under anesthesia to reduce pain and discomfort.
Who needs an emergency tooth extraction? Does an emergency tooth extraction pose risks?
These are some of the questions most Lomita patients pose. Washington Dental will answer your questions and provide safe services if you want to learn more about emergency tooth extraction.
Reasons For An Emergency Tooth Extraction
When you visit a dentist with a damaged tooth, the dentist will try to fix it using a filling, a dental crown, or any other appropriate treatment. At times, however, the damage could be too extensive to repair, leaving you with tooth extraction as the only option. For example, a loose tooth requires extraction if the damage is too extensive to be reversed through bone grafting.
There are several reasons why you would require emergency tooth extraction services, including:
Under-Gum Tooth Fractures
You could suffer under-gum tooth fractures if your teeth encounter heavy impacts. The impact could be from a regular activity like chewing hard objects or an accident. Your teeth absorb most of the impact while chewing food, and if they are not appropriately aligned, you could suffer minor cracks in the lower molars. Your tooth could also crack if you recently had a root canal or a huge filling. If your tooth is fractured below the gum line, you require an emergency tooth extraction.
Maintaining your natural teeth enhances good dental health. Most dental infections do not seem serious until the problem spreads to the most sensitive parts of the tooth. When you have a fracture beneath the gum line, it can be challenging to save the tooth. Emergency tooth extraction could be the only option to deal with this problem.
Some individuals have many teeth that cannot fit in their jaws. This causes misalignment because there is inadequate room for the teeth. This condition could make you uncomfortable and uneasy, particularly if you seek a perfect smile. One of the remedies for this condition is tooth extraction to give more room or expand the jawbone to enhance perfect alignment. Dentists often recommend an emergency tooth extraction if the teeth arrangement induces pain and uneasiness in the gums. Dental braces and orthodontic treatment can also solve the problem, but these procedures are often performed after a dental extraction.
Periodontitis/ Gum Disease
You could be prone to dental infection if you suffer from gingivitis or prolonged gum inflammation without treatment. Regular dental cleanings and decent oral hygiene can quickly reverse gingivitis. However, gingivitis cannot be resolved if it progresses to periodontal disease. Periodontitis attacks the gums and weakens the tooth-supporting structures. The gums regress significantly with time, exposing the roots. Your teeth are likely to fall off because of reduced support. If you have highly receded gums, you could undergo an emergency tooth extraction, mainly if the exposed tooth roots cause discomfort.
You should visit a dentist immediately if you experience inflamed gums or pain to avoid the development of periodontitis. However, if the condition gets worse, you could require an emergency tooth extraction.
Damaged Tooth By Decay Or Trauma
It is easy for a dentist to treat tooth decay. You can save your natural teeth in most cases. However, extraction could be inevitable if the tooth is severely decayed. A dental specialist can use several strategies to salvage a tooth, but this could be at the expense of the adjacent teeth. If there is an injury or severe chipping on the tooth, you will require an emergency tooth extraction.
You will also need a tooth extraction if a cavity develops beyond repair despite having tried to salvage the tooth by crowning or filling.
Abnormal Teeth Development
Usually, abnormal tooth development arises if most teeth become impacted or fail to emerge through the gums. Impacted teeth are susceptible to infections and conditions related to gum inflammation and pain. If you experience discomfort due to abnormal teeth development, you should visit a dentist for an emergency tooth extraction.
You could have impacted wisdom teeth if you experience persistent pain in the wisdom teeth area. You could develop crowded wisdom teeth without significant space in the jaws. In this case, the wisdom teeth push other teeth out of their space or get stuck inside the gums.
Some individuals develop impacted wisdom teeth and stay with them without problems. However, others experience extreme pain and undergo emergency wisdom tooth extractions.
Swelling On One Side Of The Face
Underlying dental problems can cause swelling on either side of your face. Mumps, cellulitis, salivary gland tumors, pericoronitis, or tooth abscesses can cause swelling. When you experience abnormal swelling, you should visit a dentist immediately. Your dentist will examine you and ascertain the cause of the swelling.
If the swelling originates below the gumline, it could be due to a root infection. Your dentist could recommend emergency tooth extraction to prevent the spread of the disease.
Dental Abscess Or Pus Formation
A bacterial infection can cause pus to form in the bone holding the tooth, at the end of the tooth root, or in the gum. This condition can cause extreme pain in some patients, while others do not feel any pain. If you notice pus oozing from the tooth or gums, you should visit a dentist because an abscess infection rarely heals. The disease can infect other parts of your body through the bloodstream. Usually, your dentist can recommend an emergency tooth extraction or root canal to treat the condition.
Cases of root canal failure are rare, but they can happen. If you experience a discharge of yellow plus or immense pain in the operated tooth, the root canal is likely to fail. Your gums could also swell and emit a foul smell while flossing or brushing. Your dentist could use a digital X-ray to examine the affected tooth. Your dentist could treat this problem by performing a tooth extraction, a subsequent root canal, or root tip surgery.
Metal Taste And Damaged Restorations
A strong bite or teeth grinding can damage old fillings. On the other hand, dental crowns and bridges can fail. If dental crowns and bridges fail, they can cause cracks and long-term damage to your original teeth. You could experience pain and a metallic taste in your mouth as the filling leaks. If you keep your infected teeth in this condition for too long, the pain and infection could escalate. Your dentist could recommend an emergency tooth extraction of the affected teeth and replacing them with implants.
What Does an Emergency Tooth Extraction Procedure Entail
This typical, relatively fast, and painless process only requires local anesthesia to cause numbness in the extraction area. Sometimes, your dentist could use strong general anesthesia to make you sleep throughout the procedure. Your dentist will loosen the tooth before pulling it from the socket.
A blood clot will develop inside the socket once the tooth has been extracted. Your dentist will insert a gauze pad into the socket to stop the bleeding. Sometimes, the dentist could place dissolving stitches to close the gum edges over the extracted area.
How To Prepare For Emergency Tooth Extraction
Your dentist will likely ask about your dental and medical history before an emergency tooth extraction. You need to let your dentist know about any existing medical conditions, allergies, or recent medical procedures. Your dentist will be interested in knowing if you are taking medication like inhalers, over-the-counter medicines, or contraception. Inform your dentist if you have any of the following:
- Artificial joints.
- Impaired immune system.
- Thyroid and liver disease.
If you are booked for the tooth extraction procedure, you should do the following:
- Let your dentist know before your appointment if you have an illness like the flu. In this case, you could reschedule the appointment.
- Notify your dentist if you experience vomiting or nausea the night before. This could also warrant a rescheduling of the appointment.
- Plan and secure a ride home if you receive any sedation during the tooth extraction.
- Avoid smoking before and after the extraction.
Length of Time an Emergency Tooth Extraction Takes
Several factors will determine how long an emergency tooth extraction takes, including:
- Whether a single tooth or multiple teeth need to be extracted.
- The extent of tooth damage.
Generally, the procedure could take around 20 to 40 minutes. However, this is not the case with wisdom tooth extraction. Usually, you could spend between 45 minutes and two hours at an appointment for a wisdom tooth extraction. This includes the period taken to numb the area with anesthetic, tooth extraction, and administering post-operative care.
Complications After Emergency Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction is complicated, even if oral surgeons and dentists carry it out. Understanding what to expect reduces the anxiety and stress associated with the experience.
Provided that a qualified dental expert performs the procedure, tooth extraction does not have serious complications. However, like any other medical procedure, complications can occur when you least expect it. The potential complications of emergency tooth extraction include the following:
You could experience pain once the anesthesia wears off, particularly in the area where the tooth is extracted. If you undergo a complicated extraction procedure, you could experience pain for longer periods. You can arrest the pain with analgesics. However, you should also contact your dentist if the pain persists or worsens.
Dry Socket (Alveolar Osteitis)
Usually, a blood clot forms in the area of tooth extraction. The blood clot shields the underlying nerves and bone in the place where the tooth is extracted. This blood clot also acts as the foundation for forming new soft tissue and bone over the clot.
Also known as alveolar osteitis, a dry socket is a painful dental issue that arises after a permanent adult tooth is removed. A dry socket occurs if a blood clot in the tooth extraction area dissolves, dislodges, or fails to form before the lesion has healed. If the underlying bone and nerves are exposed, you will experience severe pain in the socket and along the nerves extending to the side of your face. The pain could be aggravated once the socket becomes inflamed and clogged with food particles. When you have a dry socket, the pain often begins one to three days after a tooth extraction.
Swelling And Inflammation
You could experience swelling after undergoing an emergency tooth extraction. Typically, inflammation is part of natural healing and a natural body response. You will experience minor swelling after a simple tooth extraction. You could experience significant swelling during complex tooth extractions, especially extractions of multiple teeth or impacted wisdom teeth. You could experience swelling on the sides of the face, around the eyes, cheeks, and mouth. The swelling could persist for several days after the tooth extraction procedure.
It is best to contact your dentist if the inflammation or swelling at the extraction area persists for so long or if you experience intense pain.
Upon inspecting the tooth extraction site, your dentist will rule out the risk of infection. The typical symptoms of an infection include the following:
- Constant swelling and pain.
- White or yellow discharge from the tooth extraction site.
- High temperature or fever.
It is normal to experience slight bleeding after an emergency tooth extraction. You could experience minor bleeding characterized by redness or oozing saliva. The post-extraction bleeding could arise from a bone or soft tissue injury. Soft tissue bleeding is often caused by trauma from extraction, resulting in blood vessel damage. The central vessels or the nutrient canals can lead to osseous or bleeding. You should contact your dentist if the bleeding persists for more than several days or if you notice high amounts of blood.
Ways Of Handling Complications Resulting From Emergency Tooth Extraction
Several remedies are available that can help you deal with complications arising from emergency tooth extraction, as follows:
Your dentist could prescribe drugs to help alleviate your pain. However, you should inform your dentist of medication allergies and pre-existing health conditions to avoid allergic reactions or medical complications.
Ensure that you consume the pain medication as directed by the physician. Sometimes, you could feel sleepy due to the side effects of the pain medication. If this happens, you should avoid consuming alcoholic beverages, driving, or operating machinery.
Management Of Swelling And Dry Socket
You should apply cold packs to your face during extraction to reduce swelling. You are required to do this for 15 minutes at a time, several times a day, for the first 24 hours after the emergency tooth extraction. You can manage the pain after this using heat and warm compresses. Heat is the best way to alleviate pain caused by dry sockets.
On the other hand, a cold compress can effectively make your nerves numb. You can try cold and warm compresses and decide which works best.
It is also advisable for you to use salt water to rinse your mouth. This will help in the elimination of food particles lodged between your teeth. Salty water can also help treat any infection by reducing inflammation since salt is a natural disinfectant. You must gargle with a teaspoon of warm, salty water, like mouthwash.
Curbing Prolonged Bleeding
You can stop excessive bleeding by first wiping or rinsing away any old clots in your mouth. You can then apply a gauze pad to the extraction area and bite firmly for a period that does not exceed 30 minutes. You can repeat this process if necessary. If the bleeding persists, you could bite on a cold tea bag for 10 to 15 minutes. The tea bag has tannic acid, which helps form a clot by contracting blood vessels. You can also stop further bleeding by sitting upright, remaining calm, and avoiding strenuous activity. Call your dentist for more advice if the bleeding persists.
When To Contact Your Dentist After Emergence Tooth Extraction
Once the anesthesia wears off, it is common to experience mild discomfort. You could also experience residual bleeding and swelling for 24 hours after tooth removal. However, you must consult your dentist if the pain or bleeding persists for several days after the tooth extraction. You should also reach out to your dentist if you experience any symptoms of serious complications. Some of the potentially severe complications of emergency tooth extraction include the following:
- Jaw fracture.
- Chest pain.
- Sinus hole if the tooth is extracted from the upper back of the mouth.
- Damage to adjacent teeth near the extracted area.
- Constant numbness due to damaged nerves.
- Persistent swelling and redness or pus at the surgical site.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Severe chills and fever.
- Bleeding that exceeds 12 hours.
Several factors could increase the risk of developing complications after emergency tooth extraction, including:
- Tooth and gum infection.
- Dry sockets before the tooth extraction.
- Improper at-home care.
- Taking oral contraceptives.
- Smoking and the use of nicotine.
Typically, your dentist will be your best guide when managing your expectations of the healing process. However, several factors could influence your healing time, including:
- The health status of the extracted tooth.
- Your age.
- Your overall health status.
- Your lifestyle.
- Your recovery period.
- The size of the wound.
Paying For Emergency Tooth Extractions
Emergency tooth extraction is expensive because of the additional fees for other services like evaluation, x-rays, and anesthesia. Among the many available ways to cater to emergency tooth extractions, having dental insurance is the best option. It will relieve you of the financial burden of requiring extensive dental work, particularly during an emergency.
You should consult your dentist to determine whether your insurance covers emergency tooth extractions.
What if your dental insurance plan does not cover emergency tooth extraction?
You can consider other options, including:
You could qualify for health coverage through Medicaid if your income is low enough to meet the state's criteria. Usually, Medicaid does not cover the provision of dental benefits to adults, but it covers some dental care expenses for children.
Private clinics and dental offices usually allow patients to use in-house payment plans and credit cards. If you require an emergency tooth extraction and have a regular dentist for routine care, inquire if you can clear your bill over a few months. Your dentist could allow you to repay the dental costs over a defined period to reduce your financial burden.
You can purchase private dental insurance directly from an insurance company, just like a private health insurance policy. Usually, dental insurance can pay your dentist directly for the services offered when he/she files a claim on your behalf. You only pay the copays and deductibles to your dentist and a monthly or annual premium to the insurance company.
How You Can Avoid An Emergency Tooth Extraction
Dental emergencies, including an emergency tooth extraction, can burden you financially. Securing a dental insurance policy can help you avoid the high cost of dental care. However, it is even better to avoid the costs by ensuring that you will never require emergency tooth extraction services. Avoiding conditions that necessitate emergency tooth extraction, including dental abscesses, infections, accidents, and tooth decay, is best achieved by taking good care of your teeth. You can maintain your teeth by flossing and brushing daily. You can also avoid dental emergencies by avoiding accidents and visiting the dentist regularly to ensure that minor dental issues are not emergencies.
Find a Dental Expert Near Me
A dental emergency can strike when you least expect it, calling for emergency tooth extraction. Given the potential complications of emergency tooth extractions, ensuring that only a qualified and reliable dentist performs the procedure is essential. At Washington Dental, Lomita, we provide safe emergency tooth extraction services at an affordable cost. Contact us at 310-326-5183 to speak to one of our dentists.