A dental extraction, or tooth extraction, is a procedure in which one or more teeth are surgically removed. Dental extractions may be necessary in cases where a tooth is too damaged from disease or injury to be repaired. Extractions may also be necessary for proper tooth alignment, especially in patients needing braces. Simple extractions, or extractions done on teeth visible in the mouth, are performed by a dentist. Surgical extractions, or extractions done on teeth that have not grown above the gum line or have broken off below the gum line, are performed by oral surgeons. Some side effects may occur with dental extractions.
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Jaw Joint Pain
One possible side effect of a tooth extraction is jaw joint pain. Some patients may have difficulty opening their mouth wide, or they may experience pain in the jaw joint while chewing. Jaw joint pain may result from inflammation in the jaw muscles from analgesic injections, from keeping the mouth wide open during the procedure or from pushing or pressure on the jaw during the procedure. In most cases, jaw joint pain subsides on its own.
Some patients may experience long-lasting numbness in the lower lip or chin after a tooth extraction. MayoClinic.com explains that this numbness is likely due to nerve damage done during the tooth extraction. SimpleStepsDental.com adds that nerve damage may take three to six months to heal. In rare cases, numbness may be permanent.
Dry socket is another possible side effect of a dental extraction. A dry socket occurs when a blood clot either fails to form in the hole or becomes dislodged from the hole left by the tooth extraction. The formation of a blood clot following tooth removal aids in speedier recovery time and less pain. In cases of a dry socket, the absence of the blood causes severe pain in the area of the tooth extraction. Patients may also notice a bad odor or taste in their mouth. A dry socket must be covered with a medical dressing by a dentist in order to heal.
Jaw fractures are another possible side effect of dental extractions. A jaw fracture may be caused by pressure put on the jaw during an extraction. Fractures are more common in older patients and patients who suffer from osteoporosis, or thinning of bone tissue.
Infection may occur after a tooth extraction. An infection may be caused by bacteria or trapped food particles getting in the hole left by the extraction. Signs of an infection include fever, increased pain in the mouth or jaw, increased swelling around the extraction site, or draining or bleeding from the extraction site. Infections are treated with antibiotics.