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Tooth Extraction(s)

The oral surgeon or periodontist at Dental & TMJ Specialists of Greater DC recommend extracting impacted teeth that are only partially erupted. Bacteria can enter around a partially erupted tooth and cause an infection, which can extend into the surrounding bone and become extremely serious. Impacted teeth continue trying to break through the gum tissue even if there is not enough room to accommodate them. The continued pressure caused by this attempted eruption can eventually damage the roots of nearby teeth. Removing a tooth that is impacted can often prevent infection, damage to adjacent teeth and bone, and save pain in the years to come.

doctor showing patient a model

Why Are Teeth Removed?

Teeth are extracted for a variety of reasons:

  • Decay has reached deep into the tooth
  • Infection has destroyed a large portion of the tooth or surrounding bone
  • There is not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth
  • For restorative purposes (the tooth was non-repairable)

How Are Teeth Removed?

Before a tooth is removed, the oral surgeon or periodontist at Dental & TMJ Specialists of Greater DC will thoroughly review your medical and dental history and take the appropriate X-rays. X-rays reveal the length, shape, and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. From this information, they can estimate the degree of difficulty of the procedure. Before removal, the area around your tooth will be anesthetized. The specialist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area of the mouth where the extraction will take place.

What Can I Expect From Oral Surgery?

Having tooth extraction(s) is most commonly an in-office procedure. Patients will receive a local anesthetic and if necessary, an oral sedative medication to ensure that they are comfortable and relaxed throughout the procedure. After surgery, a diet of liquid and soft foods is necessary for a few days and patients will be given information on how to alleviate swelling and any post-treatment discomfort.

What Can I Expect After an Extraction?

It is critical to keep the area clean and prevent infection immediately following the removal of a tooth. The specialist will ask you to bite down gently on a piece of dry, sterile gauze, which you must keep in place for up to 30 to 45 minutes to limit bleeding while clotting takes place. For the next 24 hours, you cannot smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously, or clean the teeth next to the extraction site.

A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction. In some cases, the specialist will recommend a pain killer or prescribe one for you. It may help to apply an ice pack to the face for 15 minutes at a time. You may also want to limit strenuous activity, as well as avoid hot liquids and not drink through a straw. The day after the extraction, the specialist may suggest that you begin gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (do not swallow the water). Under normal circumstances, discomfort should lessen within three days to two weeks. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call our office at (301) 493-9500.

Bone Grafting

Successful dental implant treatment (see dental implants) require adequate jaw bone in height and width along with healthy gum tissues. When teeth have been missing the jawbone undergoes atrophy or resorption resulting in inadequate bone for successful dental implant placement. With a clinical examination and appropriate x-rays our doctors will be able to diagnose the extent of bone deficiency and will discuss the treatment options to allow for bone graft reconstruction and eventual successful dental implant treatment.

Fortunately, today we have the ability to grow bone where it is needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place dental implants of proper length and width, but it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance. Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries.

Dr. Singer with patient


Alveoloplasty is a dental pre-prosthetic procedure performed to smoothen or reshape the jawbone. In this procedure, the bony edges of the alveolar ridge and its surrounding structures is made smooth, redesigned or recontoured so that a well-fitting, comfortable, and esthetic dental prosthesis may be fabricated.

When Is an Alveoloplasty Procedure Performed?

The procedure can be performed either at the time of tooth extraction or after the site has fully healed. When you prepare for your tooth extraction, the oral surgeon or periodontist at Dental & TMJ Specialists of Greater DC will evaluate your jaw and decide if it needs recontouring.

The oral surgeon or periodontist often conduct this procedure at the same time as the tooth extraction to shape the jawbone in a way that facilitates healing. Alternatively, the procedure can be performed once the site has healed but before the artificial tooth has been placed to make sure the shape of the jaw supports the new device.

Alveoloplasty is a fairly common procedure designed to prevent complications with tooth replacements. Once you have a smooth jawbone, your mouth will be ready for a dental fixed replacement tooth, such as a dental implant. The prosthodontist will be able to identify if you might benefit from this surgery and provide a recommendation on when it should be performed. As always, the recommendations by our board certified prosthodontists is to focus on the optimal oral systemic health as well as helping you to achieve your ideal smile.

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