2 Potential Complications With Tooth Extraction

Posted on: 23 March 2015

Dentists usually try to save a tooth if there's a chance it can remain healthy. But, sometimes a tooth is so far gone, so extraction is the only option. Extraction is a routine procedure performed often in most dentist offices. However, it is also a medical procedure and as such carries a risk for some complications.

What do you need to watch out for if you need a tooth extraction?

Dry Socket

When a tooth extraction goes as planned, the tooth is pulled and a blood clot forms over the hole to speed up the healing process. In rare cases, this clot either doesn't form or doesn't stay where it's supposed to. This leaves you with a hole that can expose part of your jawbone.

Dry socket can cause pain and sensitivity to the area of the extracted tooth and can also radiate throughout your head. Chewing and speaking might become difficult. Your dentist can alleviate this pain by irrigating the hole with antibacterial solution and then applying a topical dressing over the hole. This dressing will need to be changed until the hole starts to heal on its own.

Some lifestyle changes before the extraction can lessen your risk for dry socket. Tobacco users, poor oral health and hormonal issues can all increase the chance you will develop dry socket. Some of those problems are easier to treat than others, but it's best to go into the extraction procedure as healthy as possible.

Bite Problems

It might seem like leaving the extraction hole in your mouth is merely a cosmetic problem. But even adult teeth are constantly experiencing slight shifts in position. When all of the teeth are present, this doesn't cause a problem because the neighboring teeth keep each other from moving too far.

But, a missing tooth takes away that support structure for the neighboring teeth. This can cause the other teeth to either lean inwards towards the hole. If this leaning is pronounced enough, you can develop a bite issue called a crossbite.

A crossbite can make it difficult or uncomfortable to chew, speak or even to hold your mouth closed comfortably. The condition can be treated with braces, but the missing tooth would again cause problems with allowing teeth to move where they shouldn't.

Possible replacement options for a missing tooth include a bridge or a dental implant. A bridge has a full artificial tooth suspended between two artificial crowns that are bonded over neighboring teeth for stability. Dental implants involve fusing a metal root to your jawbone and then snapping artificial teeth over the new metal posts.