A Tooth Extraction Primer – First In A 2-Part Series!

As a dentist in San Francisco, at Smile SF, a tooth extraction is one of the most common procedures we do besides regular dental hygiene care and thorough oral health checkups. And while we’ll always do our best to treat your tooth to save it, there are many reasons why pulling one or more teeth may be necessary, depending on your individual needs.

But why do we extract teeth instead of saving them?

For children and young adults, a tooth extraction is most often done to make room for adult teeth, to prepare for orthodontics treatment, or to prevent crowding, tooth damage, or jaw issues. Because everyone is different, we also have different dental needs. Here is a quick primer on some of the reasons that a tooth extraction may be your best course of action. Of course, this is only a guideline. If you’re concerned you may need a tooth removed, give us a call for a consultation of your unique dental needs.

Dental Trauma

Rough play, sports, or accidents can damage a tooth beyond repair. Wearing a sports mouthguard is your first defense, but accidents do happen. While our first line of treatment for a seriously damaged tooth may be a dental crown or root canal treatment and a crown, sometimes a tooth extraction after dental trauma is unavoidable.

Extensive Decay

At Smile SF our focus is on prevention and treating dental disease as soon as possible – when issues are smaller and easier to treat. But sometimes, dental decay is so extensive that it travels right through your tooth to the sensitive root below and causes a painful infection. If root canal therapy cannot clear the infection or the infection is too severe, a tooth extraction is your only option.

Damaged Restorations

Sometimes, if your bite is off or you clench or grind your teeth, your teeth can crack or break. If your bite is strong enough, and for many people it is, then old restorations could fail, while damaging your tooth so much that there is no way to bond a new restoration.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Your gums have an important job in protecting the ligaments and bones that keep your teeth firmly in their sockets. When gum disease progresses too far, your teeth loosen because your ligaments and bones are unable to hold them. A tooth extraction is sometimes the only solution.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare

After your appointment, we’ll give you take-home instructions to help your extraction site heal. You can count on needing a few days to recover after having a tooth pulled. For the first 24 hours you’ll want to take it easy, avoid drinking through a straw, rinsing or spitting forcefully, and smoking. Take your painkillers as prescribed to help prevent pain and follow our aftercare instructions carefully. Enjoy a diet of soft foods such as soup, pudding, yogurt, and applesauce on the day of and after your extraction. Continue your oral home care of brushing and flossing to prevent infection – but avoid the extraction site.

At Smile SF, we have many options to help you prevent dental issues in San Francisco – and repair them if they do arise. Our kind and compassionate team is dedicated to creating an experience that puts you in control of your care and treatment options. If you’re in any kind of dental pain at all, let us help you get out of pain. And if you need a new dentist in San Francisco to help you stay healthy and prevent dental issues, or rejuvenate your smile with cosmetic options, we’re here to help you make your unique smile dreams come true. Call us today – and let us help you gain control of your oral health and love your smile.

Yours in excellent dental health,
Dr. Farah Sefidvash, your general dentist in SF (94123)

P.S. Be sure to check back next month to read all about Restoring Your Smile After Tooth Extractions