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A guide to exodontia procedures in Greenwood SC: When you may need tooth removal; what to expect

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By definition, “exodontia” is the branch of dentistry that involves extracting or removing teeth. As your warm neighborhood dentist, Christopher T. Griffin, DMD treasures the close bonds that are formed with patients. These strong relationships are characterized by routine office visits for care and education on great hygiene practices to use at home. What this means is every effort is made to prevent the need for “avoidable” extractions; however, exodontia is not unlike other branches of dentistry. There are some situations where extractions are “unavoidable” and may indeed be the healthiest approach.

Types of Exodontia in Greenwood, South Carolina

Simple tooth extraction

As its name suggests, “simple” tooth extraction is relatively straightforward. It can be completed with a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area and involves the removal of a tooth that is visible above the gum line. For these types of procedures, the broken or otherwise damaged tooth is loosened with a specialized dental instrument known as an “elevator.” Once the tooth is loosened for easiest removal, other instruments are used to grasp and gently take the tooth out of the mouth.

Surgical tooth extraction

Surgical or “complex” extraction also involves local anesthetic for utmost comfort when accessing and removing the offending tooth. The difference between complex and simple procedures largely comes down to whether the tooth is visible above the gum line or not; for instance, a portion of the tooth may break off at the gum line or the tooth may not have fully erupted or surfaced above the gum tissue. This difference calls for your dentist to access and remove the broken or impacted tooth via a very small incision made into the tissue. There are different types of surgical or complex exodontia, which vary by how the tooth to be removed is positioned in the mouth and, in turn, the complexity of the procedure.

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  • Soft tissue impaction – When wisdom teeth or the third molars fail to erupt into the proper position in the mouth, it’s known as an “impaction.” Sometimes, the upper part of the tooth (its crown) works its way through the bone. But it doesn’t erupt fully through the gums or soft tissues. This type of impaction requires surgical removal of the affected tooth.
  • Partial bony or hard tissue impaction – One of two types of bony impactions, the tooth may erupt somewhat through the bone tissue; however, it remains primarily within the jawbone – underneath both soft and hard tissues. As such, this is generally a complex version of surgical exodontia than its soft tissue impaction counterpart.
  • Full bony or complete impaction – If the tooth doesn’t make its way through any of the bone, it remains entirely encased in the jaw. Impacted wisdom teeth are associated with complications, such as damage to other teeth, cysts, and an increased risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.

Problematic wisdom teeth are also associated with pain and affect function; jaw swelling and tenderness, as well as difficulty opening the mouth, are not uncommon. Dr. Griffin and his team want to get you out of pain quickly and to do so in a way that is comfortable. So, in some situations, complex or surgical exodontia may include both pain management and well as the administration of calming medications.

Christopher T. Griffin, DMD uses light conscious sedation. The relaxing medicine may result in your falling asleep, but you can be awakened relatively quickly and may respond to verbal cues. Afterward, you may feel drowsy but not remember much (if anything) about the treatment.

Other “good things to know” about exodontia

After the tooth is removed from its socket, your dentist will provide information on aftercare. A small amount of bleeding is not a cause for alarm. And, generally, it’s advised that you avoid any actions that can impede healthy and speedy healing. It’s always a good idea to avoid smoking and tobacco products (especially post-extraction!); however, other habits can also increase your risk of developing conditions like dry socket. This complication arises when the blood clot at the treatment site gets dislodged, usually through vigorous actions such as aggressive rinsing or drinking through a straw.

You can’t control how wisdom teeth develop but, just like with conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease, these molars require consistent monitoring to avoid often painful and disruptive symptoms. During routine exams and professional cleanings, Dr. Griffin and his skilled staff will examine the state of your teeth and gums, and make recommendations to avoid what can be avoided or to get ahead of any potential complications.

Call (864) 229-2610 to schedule your first or next check-up at the Greenwood SC office.

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