Tooth extraction is the last option left with the dentist when your tooth infection has surpassed its final stage. At this juncture, no amount of medication or surgical intervention could save the tooth. Thus arises the need for extraction. Tooth extraction is painful. Even with the use of anesthetics, postoperative pain is experienced by the patients. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of KAOMS titled Common risk factors for postoperative pain following the extraction of wisdom teeth,
Postoperative pain is one of the two most common complications of this surgery, along with dry socket. Knowledge of the frequent risk factors of this complication is useful in determining high-risk patients, planning treatment, and preparing the patients mentally… Except for surgical difficulty and the surgeon’s experience, the influences of other risk factors (age, gender and oral contraceptive use) are rather inconclusive.
Pain – the most common postoperative complication is evidently caused by the release of mediators from the injured tissue. It usually begins after the effect of anesthesia begins to subside. It is a very important factor in clinical practice as it often discourages patients from seeking dental treatment. However, there might be other complications too and it is important for extraction candidates to have some knowledge on them.
Significant issues that might occur post an extraction
Dry Socket (Osteitis)
You must have experienced this at some point in your life – the doctor asking you to hold the gauge tight in the place of extraction for some time? The purpose is not to allow the blood clot to be dislodged easily. When your tooth is extracted, a blood clot naturally forms over the area. In case this clot gets dislodged, a condition known as osteitis or dry socket arises.
Radiation treatment, especially that have been directed towards the head and neck area sometime bears the risk of giving rise to a condition known as osteoradionecrosis post your tooth extraction surgery. Osteoradionecrosis involves the death of the bone due to damage to the blood vessels caused by the effect of radiation. The bone that lies beneath the extracted tooth, if destroyed, doesn’t leave room for restorative treatments like implants or dentures.
A Bite Collapse
Patients, particularly those who had their back teeth removed experience a bite collapse. Better termed as ‘loss of vertical dimension of occlusion’, it is manifested by the moving of your lower jaw closer to the upper one. As a result of change in the occlusions, there are other changes that eventually lead to symptoms such as dry, chapped or cracked lips!
Improper Teeth Alignment
When a particular permanent tooth is extracted, the rest of the teeth may move, leading to misalignment of the teeth. This in turn causes changes in the bite. Such a situation requires further interventions. Your dentist resorts to orthodontic corrections in order correct the misalignment as well as biting issues, if any.
The missing tooth (or extracted tooth) on the other hand needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Restorative techniques are in plenty to serve this purpose. Dental implants, bridges, dentures etc. are few of the common tools in the hands of modern dentistry to cope up with the issue of a lost tooth!
Maxillary Sinus Exposure
The extraction of the upper molars gives rise to this condition. While extracting these teeth, a hole might get exposed that opens into the maxillary sinus. This needs to be repaired immediately. A dental X-ray reveals the amount of sinus exposure and aids in determining the treatment alternatives.
A conclusion on factors behind extraction outcomes
Findings of research concerning causative factors of postoperative complications were not many. The study mentioned above in fact concludes:
Based on the number of studies agreeing that a certain potential factor might likely be a real risk factor, the trauma of surgery and experience of the surgeon were more likely to be causative or risk factors of pain.
Neither age nor higher levels of estrogen showed any conclusive results on post extraction pain. A few studies however have attributed this pain to poor oral hygiene practices. Thus causes behind the tooth extraction outcomes are not important. What counts is your awareness about the various problems that might occur such that the necessary actions are not delayed.