Sometimes, the dentist would recommend a dental extraction as the only option to treat a dental issue. Dental extraction or tooth extraction implies removing either a single tooth or a couple of teeth via surgical means. Dental extraction is often considered as a last resort in cases where no other form of dental treatment would prove to be effective. These include instances wherein the tooth to be treated is too damaged and cannot be repaired at all or cases wherein the teeth need to be properly aligned in order to fit braces or dentures.
Dental extractions fall into two main categories; the simple extractions that are usually done by a dentist and involve extracting teeth that are visible and easy to reach, and the surgical extractions that are usually done by oral surgeons and involve extracting teeth that are hard to reach, remain below the gum line or break off below the gum line.
Dental Extraction Side Effects
Even though a dental extraction procedure would effectively treat certain dental issues and provide relief from the effects accompanying the same, it comes with its own share of risks and side effects that one needs to be completely aware of before giving consent to the process.
Immediate Effects on the Teeth
Dental extraction would leave a gap in the place of the tooth that was extracted. With time, the adjacent teeth would start moving towards this space, thus creating spaces between themselves in the process.
The gaps thus formed in between the teeth can accumulate food particles, debris and other unwanted impurities over a period of time. These gaps would also be hard to clean and so would turn into breeding grounds for bacteria which would eventually cause a series of dental issues like dental cavities, dental calculus, tooth abscess, roof recession, teeth pain, teeth mobility and gingival inflammation etc.
In most cases of tooth extraction, a blood clot would naturally form in the space left by the extracted tooth. This would occur as soon as the tooth is extracted and is the body’s natural reaction to the sudden exposure of the nerves below the tooth. The formation of the blood clot in the hole helps to hide these nerves, thereby reducing pain and stimulating a speedier recovery.
In certain rare cases though, the blood clot may not form or would get dislodged from the space. If this occurs, the socket that held the tooth would become dry and expose the underlying nerves. This in turn would cause excruciating pain (enough to give you fever) in the area followed by inflammation of the gums surrounding the dry socket. In addition to causing extreme pain and discomfort, dry sockets after a dental tooth extraction can also cause bad breath and can leave a bad taste in the mouth.
The dentist would usually cover a dry socket with a medical dressing in order to facilitate quick healing. It is also customary for him/her to ask you to refrain from smoking or drinking with straws for a few days after the procedure in order to let the socket heal and close up properly. Failure to do so would also lead to the formation of dry sockets after a dental tooth extraction.
Infection in the Socket
The hole left in your mouth in the place of the extracted tooth would be prone to infection. And the risks of the same would increase if food particles, debris or bacteria enter the hole. As soon as an infection sets in, the person in question would start experiencing symptoms like severe discomfort and pain in and around the infected extraction site, swelling in the area, or excessive bleeding at the extraction site etc.
Discomfort and Pain in the Jaw Joint
In some cases, a person who has just undergone a dental extraction procedure would tend to develop pain and discomfort in his/her jaw joint. While this is not necessarily caused by the extracted tooth or the empty socket, the pain in the jaw joint would arise due to the pressure applied on the jaws during the procedure. Jaw joint pain can also be caused by the analgesic injections which would cause inflammation in the jaw muscles.
A complex dental extraction procedure would also require the individual in question to keep his/her mouth wide open for longer intervals. Jaw joint pain is usually experienced as a mild throb in the jaw when chewing or opening the mouth wide (for example, yawning). The pain would usually subside on its own after a few days.
In certain rare cases, it is possible for the jaw to be fractured while extracting a tooth. The fracture can be attributed to the excess pressure applied on the jawbone during a dental extraction procedure, and is more common in individuals who have a weak jaw bone, thinning bone tissue, or osteoporosis. Jaw fracture is also prevalent in older patients.
Again a rare side effect of a dental extraction procedure, nerve damage is said to occur when the dentist accidentally cuts or damages a nerve while extracting the tooth/teeth. Chances are high if the procedure is done by an inexperienced dentist.
In this case, damage to the underlying nerves during a dental extraction procedure can cause numbness in and around the extraction site. While in some cases the numbness would take a period of over 6 months to heal completely, in others the numbness would be permanent and the individual in question would lose sensation in the area completely.
Other Possible Side Effects of Dental Extraction
Dental extraction procedures can also lead to certain side effects in the gastrointestinal tract. And these side effects usually arise due to the loss of teeth function in and around the extraction site. It is a known fact that both the upper and lower teeth are needed for proper mastication of food. In the event an upper or lower tooth is extracted, the tooth opposite to it would meet only an empty space while biting, chewing etc. and so would lose its function as well.
If more than one tooth is extracted at the same time, it would affect all the other teeth facing the extracted ones. This in turn would cause issues like bad bite and improper mastication of food. And that would cause side effects like abdominal gas, stomach pain etc. when the partially chewed food enters the stomach and gastrointestinal tract.