Posted on: 8 May 2015Share
Dentists try to save natural teeth, but sometimes the level of damage doesn't make this possible. A tooth extraction opens up the space for a stronger dental replacement. Dental implants are one of the strongest dental replacement options due to their metal root embedded into the jawbone.
Receiving a dental implant requires your mouth to be in optimal health, so its important to watch for potential problems following extraction. Those problems could lead to gum and bone damage that can take the dental implant option off the table.
Here are a couple of the tooth extraction problems to watch for after your procedure. Call your dentist immediately if any symptoms present. Prompt treatment can prevent any long-term damage.
When the tooth is removed, an empty socket is left in the gums and bone. A blood clot is supposed to form over the socket to protect the bone underneath from exposure and to promote healing. But that clot doesn't always form, and a painful condition called dry socket can occur.
Formally called post-extraction alveolitis, dry socket happens most often in patients who are heavy smokers or taking a prescription hormone pill such as birth control. The pain typically presents a few days after the extraction and presents as a radiating pain that travels across the jawbone as high as the ear or sinus.
Dry socket is relatively easy to treat, but will require frequent dentist visits for a short period of time. The dentist will clean out the socket and plug it with a moist medicated dressing. This dressing will need to be changed by the dentist at least every couple of days until the socket begins to heal on its own.
Failure to seek treatment for dry socket can allow oral bacteria to settle into the gum and bone causing an infection. The infection can eventually erode part of the bone, which would make it necessary to undergo a bone graft prior to receiving a dental implant.
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
Also called ONJ, osteonecrosis of the jaw presents as a painful weeping lesion on the jawbone. ONJ occurs due to either poor dental hygiene, the use of certain prescription drugs, or an underlying systemic health condition such as cancer or diabetes.
ONJ is painful and can begin to loosen neighboring teeth if left untreated. The lesion can also spread infection through the gums and into the jawbone, which can cause damage to both the gums and bone. It's important to report symptoms immediately as ONJ treatment is time intensive.
Your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics as an oral pill and/or as a medicated mouthwash. The dentist will use a technique called debridement to deep clean the ONJ area to remove any bacteria that could fuel its spread. It might take several rounds of both of these treatments to completely clear up the ONJ. If you're looking for a dentist in your area, visit Forest Lawn Dental Clinic.