Whether you’re just curious about how this is done or are facing having one of your own teeth extracted, your mental images of having a tooth pulled probably aren’t that pretty.
Here are some of the results that we got when we asked people “How do you think a dentist pulls a tooth?”
- “I think the dentist takes a huge pliers, grabs onto the tooth, and yanks it out.”–Mary
- “I don’t know, but I bet it involves a lot of blood.”–Nancy
- “Doesn’t the dentist just numb it and then crack it into pieces and take them out one by one?”–Joe
Popular wisdom among the general public may vary about dentists’ techniques for extractions, as people who have had tooth extractions tell their stories and the legends grow. Other people have stereotyped ideas from more than a century ago of dentists yanking and tugging on a tooth with all their strength to force it out.
However modern dental technology has changed all of that. The tools and techniques that dentists use to extract a tooth are optimized for making a tooth extraction as quick and painless and rapidly healing as possible. You’ve got to hand it to dentists: They have to find a way to get leverage in a very small space, while being restricted by a very small viewing hole (the mouth opening) and having a movable tongue getting in the way. And then they have to avoid hurting the patient while performing an inherently painful task. At the end, however, the results of their efforts brings a relief that is well worth the procedure.
So while getting a tooth taken out can still feel like a monumental occasion, what is a tooth extraction like from a dentist’s perspective?
Banish the thought of a huge pair of pliers. Anyway, how would that help for grabbing something like a wisdom tooth that’s half buried in your gums? The modern dentist’s primary tool is an instrument called a Dental Elevator. However, once the tooth is loosened with the dental elevator, the dentist may perform the last step of removing it from its socket with a pair of extraction forceps.
To pull your tooth, your dentist’s first step is to expand the socket. The socket is the deep bone cavity where the root of your tooth is wedged. It’s shaped kind of like a well, and it can grip your tooth quite tightly. (Good thing, since you wouldn’t want your teeth just falling out willy-nilly!) In order to get your tooth out, the dentist must widen the diameter of this socket by rocking the tooth back and forth. In the meantime, he will also be using the dental elevator to carefully divide the tooth’s smooth sides from the surrounding gum tissue. Finally, the root of the tooth is connected to the bottom of the socket by a ligament, and this ligament must be severed. This procedure is generally fast (4-8 minutes) and the best part is that it minimizes the recovery time and the possible complications to the patient.
Hopefully this blog has given you a glimpse into the way dentists pull teeth in a way that tames your fears of letting the dentist keep your mouth healthy. Schedule an appointment today!