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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults


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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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What Exactly Is Surgical Tooth Extraction?

Sometimes it can seem like a dentist is more of a miracle worker, when they're able to restore a deteriorated tooth fragment to its former glory, leaving its natural root structure intact. But dentists have their limits. If all other avenues have been explored, and it has been conclusively determined that tooth extraction is necessary, what does it mean when your dentist tells you that you need tooth extraction surgery?

Routine and Surgical

Tooth extractions can be broadly divided into two categories, namely routine and surgical. Routine extraction is when the tooth can be removed whole, as is, without any foreseeable complications. Tooth extraction surgery can be necessary when the procedure is not quite so straightforward. Rest assured that surgical tooth removal is incredibly common, perfectly routine, and isn't cause for concern. When is surgical extraction recommended?

Fragile and Fragmented

A damaged tooth may not be intact. It could have fragmented into sections, all of which have remained anchored in the tooth's dental socket. An especially fragile tooth can easily become fragmented during extraction as well. Additionally, the tooth's overall anatomy be taken into consideration, with the configuration of its root structure playing a part. Teeth with multiple roots, some of which may be long or curved (such as molars) will often require surgical extraction. The need for tooth removal surgery is strictly on a case-by-case basis.

The Surgery

An x-ray often precedes tooth extraction, so your dentist can have a clear view of the tooth's foundations. The surgical portion of the process involves your dentist making a small incision in your gums to expose the lower portions of the tooth, and sometimes your dentist must manipulate your jaw bone for the tooth to be released. It might sound rather demanding, but it's not a complicated process.

After the Extraction

In terms of your experience, there's little difference between routine and surgical extraction. You will receive anesthesia to numb the extraction site and will require short-term pain relief in the coming days. There is a slightly higher risk of bleeding due to the (moderately) invasive nature of the extraction, however, this can be effectively managed with sterile gauze to promote clotting.

The surgical portion of tooth extraction surgery is just your dentist acknowledging that the tooth cannot be easily extracted without adequate preparation. It's not anything to be alarmed about, although you should address any specific concerns with your dentist before your extraction surgery.