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Tooth Extraction Complications

Tooth Extraction Complications

While tooth extraction is done for various reasons, like removal of damaged teeth, this procedure may cause some complications too. Here is a brief overview about such complications.
Sonia Nair
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Instances of tooth extraction complications have come down to a great extent with the advancement in technology. Now, we have high-end equipment and medicines to address specific situations. The advent of technology in this area resulted in minimizing the difficulties related to tooth extraction. However, extraction of teeth may sometimes cause complications, during the procedure itself, or after that.
Tooth Extraction
This dental procedure is often performed in case of severe tooth decay or infection. It has been observed that, dental caries is one of the common reasons for removal of teeth. It is also done in patients with severe gum diseases. In some people, extra teeth block emergence of other teeth. In such cases, extra teeth are removed. Wisdom teeth are often removed, when there is insufficient space for them to come out. Fractured teeth and teeth in the fracture line are also removed. Those who are required to undergo radiation in the head and neck region, may also be required to extract the teeth in the field of radiation.
Another common reason for teeth extraction is orthodontic treatment. There are two methods of extracting teeth - simple and surgical. Simple extraction denotes extraction of visible teeth, under local anesthetic. Surgical extraction is a little more complicated, and is usually performed to remove teeth which cannot be accessed easily. If the tooth has not erupted fully, or if it breaks inside the gum; surgical extraction is preferred. This procedure requires the dental surgeon to make an incision in the gum, and remove some of the nearby bone tissues, using a drill.
Usually, complications arise in patients with a difficult root morphology or strong supporting tissues. Likewise, teeth with weak crown surfaces and deep caries, and brittle teeth may also cause complications during or after the extraction procedure. While some of the complications arise during the procedure itself, others develop after the extraction. Sometimes, complications may develop after a few days.
Complications During the Procedure
  • In some cases, the tooth to be extracted may suffer a fracture during the extraction procedure. This fracture makes the extraction process more complicated.
  • Even though not common, in some patients, the nearby teeth get damaged during extraction. It may also happen that the adjacent dental restorations, like crowns and dental implants, suffer some damage.
  • In some cases, a small piece of the extracted tooth root gets stuck in the socket itself. Dentists may remove this piece in some patients; while in others, it may be left in the socket itself, to avoid damage to the nerve that is located nearby.
  • Another complication is nerve damage which can be caused during the procedure. This is considered one of the common wisdom tooth extraction complications; but can happen during extraction of any other tooth, provided, the nerve is located very close to the tooth root. In case of extraction of teeth from the lower jaw, the inferior alveolar nerve may suffer damage. In such cases, the patient may experience numbness of the lower lip and chin. Nerve damage includes damage to the lingual nerve too. Nerve damage usually happens while lifting teeth or while using the surgical drill. The nerve may heal within some weeks or months, but in some people, it may result in permanent damage.
  • Jaw fracture may happen during tooth extraction in people with a weak jawbone.
  • Another complication is sinus damage, which happens in case of extraction of upper teeth. In some cases, the sinus cavity, which is located above the upper molars or premolars, may get exposed. This happens when the bony structure that divides the tooth socket from the sinus cavity gets perforated or removed (with the tooth) during extraction of teeth. Usually, this condition heals by itself. Otherwise, corrective surgery is the remedy.
  • Sinus damage includes displacement of tooth or tooth fragments into the sinus cavity. They have to be removed to avoid complications.
Post Extraction Complications
  • Infections may develop at the site of extraction, and are often treated with antibiotics.
  • Another complication, which may develop after the extraction procedure is prolonged bleeding, which can be addressed by the dentist without much difficulty.
  • Swelling is a common aftereffect of tooth extraction, which may subside within 24 hours.
  • Dry socket or alveolar osteitis, is a complication, which develops in around 5% of the total number of cases. It is one of the common wisdom tooth extraction complications. In this case, blood clots that are necessary for the healing process, do not form in the tooth socket. This condition is very painful. Usually, such pain develops a few days after tooth extraction.

Most of the dentists inform their clients, about the possible complications, well before the procedure. Though not very common, complications after tooth extraction do arise, and it is better to be prepared for the same.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.