What to expect when having a tooth extracted
The process of having a tooth extracted may seem worrying but you’ll find it much easier if you know what to expect on the day and afterwards.
Your dentist will make the process as comfortable as possible for you by numbing the area around the tooth to be extracted.
- In most cases, a small amount of bleeding is quite normal and your dentist will advise you what process to follow to allow healing as quickly as possible.
- Generally, you should avoid anything that might prevent normal healing. For example, it’s best not to smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or drink through a straw for 24 hours afterwards as these could delay healing.
- For the first few days, if you need to rinse your mouth, do it gently. If you are suffering pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag.
- If necessary, your dentist will recommend something for any pain.
- At the beginning, don’t clean around the socket where the tooth has been removed but you should brush and floss the other teeth as usual.
Modern procedures make having an extraction and the follow-up more comfortable than ever before.
Your options if you have many missing or damaged teeth
People who have not followed adequate dental care for some years may have already lost most of their teeth and feel a little hopeless. Sometimes they ask a dentist to remove the remaining teeth as they are often broken and have deep cavities.
It’s true that, sometimes, removal of the remaining teeth and replacing them with full dentures is the only option.
But more often there are other options available.
- Some or all of the remaining teeth could be repaired and used in conjunction with a partial denture. While a full denture replaces all of the teeth on the upper or lower jaw, a partial denture replaces some of the teeth.
- If only a few weak teeth remain on the upper jaw, it might be preferable to have them extracted and a full upper denture made. Full upper dentures can be more secure than lower ones as the upper denture gets added stability from the palate and is not easily dislodged by the tongue.
- If only a few teeth remain on the lower jaw, however, the dentist will usually aim to save them and use a partial denture if necessary.
- Ideally, all teeth that can be saved should be saved but this is not always possible – often due to finances. In such cases, having teeth removed and dentures may be the only option.
Making living with dentures easy and comfortable
Your dentures were made to fit you precisely and, if they are cared for properly, they do not change shape. However, you may sometimes find that they can become loose due to natural changes in the gums and bone supporting them. As the jawbone begins to shrink, so do the gums.
If you find your dentures no longer fit properly, see your dentist as soon as possible so adjustments can be made. Trying to change the fit of your dentures yourself can damage them and make them unrepairable so this would be a costly experiment! Ill-fitting dentures repaired at home can also irritate the gums, tongue and cheeks.
In an emergency, you could use denture adhesives to keep the dentures stable until you are able to see the dentist. Even if you no longer have your natural teeth, its still important to see your dentist regularly for an oral examination.
The dentist will examine your mouth to check for any problem with the gum ridges, the tongue and the joints of the jaw, as well as screen for oral cancer. For a variety of reasons, many older adults are more susceptible to oral diseases, including oral cancer. About 95 percent of all cancers are found in people over age 40. However, many of these cancers are treatable if detected early.
Living with dentures can be comfortable if you continue to care for your oral hygiene and make regular visits to your dentist for a checkup.
How dentures can replace your smile
If you’ve lost all of your natural teeth, whether from gum disease, tooth decay or injury, complete dentures can replace your missing teeth and your smile. Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health.
Without support from the denture, facial muscles sag, making a person look older. You’ll also find it harder to eat and speak things that people often take for granted until their natural teeth are lost.
There are various types of complete dentures.
A conventional full denture is made and placed in the patients mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed which may take several months.
An immediate complete denture is inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. The dentist takes measurements and makes models of the patients jaws during a preliminary visit. With immediate dentures, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.
Even if you wear full dentures, you still must take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.
And even if you wear full dentures, its important to visit your dentist regularly to maintain your overall oral health and get early warning of serious issues such as oral cancer.
How implants changed dentistry
Implants are one of the most important developments in dental care over recent years.
- They have created opportunities that didn’t exist before for people to improve their dental health and create the smile they want.
- Implants were discovered by Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. P.I. Brnemark and they have transformed the quality of life for people who have missing teeth.
- The basis of a dental implant is a titanium rod about 1cm long. This is placed inside the jawbone and is designed to serve the same purpose as tooth roots.
- Implants can either be used to replace lost teeth or to help keep dentures in place more securely.
- One of the reaons implants have changed dental care so much is that, previously, there was often no other way to replace missing teeth permanently.
- And there are many people who cannot tolerate removable dentures or don’t want to wear them for some other reason.
The introduction of implants had made a big change in their lives.
How dental implants can give you a better smile
If you have missing teeth, you dont just have to rely on crowns, conventional bridges and dentures. For example, many people are now choosing dental implants as the best way to restore their smile and solve dental problems.
Implants are placed below the gums during a series of appointments. They fuse to the jawbone and provide a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture. As they are fused to the bone, they offer greater stability. And, because they are integrated into your jaw, your replacement teeth will feel more natural.
This secure fit often also makes them more comfortable than other solutions.
In order to have implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.
To find out whether you could be a candidate for dental implants, talk to your dentist about what they could do for you.
How a bridge can bring back your smile even with missing teeth
If you’re missing one or more teeth, it probably affects your smile and you may also notice a difference in chewing and speaking. However, there are options available to help you restore your smile and limit other problems.
For example, a bridge – sometimes called a fixed partial denture – replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth. Bridges help maintain the shape of your face, as well as reducing the stress in your bite by replacing missing teeth. They literally bridge the gap where one or more teeth may have been previously.
The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and it is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Bridges can be removable so that you can take them out and clean them or fixed and so can only be removed by a dentist.
An implant bridge attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue.
Your dentist will recommend which approach is best for you. Whatever type of bridge you choose, its success depends on its foundation. So it’s very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong.