The Surprising History of Extracting Teeth

The Surprising History of Extracting Teeth

Toothaches have been with us since the evolution of teeth and extracting teeth. I wonder what poor Homo erectus did when suffering with a toothache. He probably just suffered and probably became very bad tempered.

Ancient Dentistry

Significant tooth decay did not appear until hunter-gatherer societies became agrarian. The change in diet included a large increase in carbohydrates which then led to tooth decay. Early man was primitive but he was also pretty smart. Some time around 8000 years ago someone in the area that is now Pakistan was using a drill to remove tooth decay. Examination of Neolithic skulls have revealed the handiwork of at least one very early dentist.

A Sumerian text in about 5000 B.C. taught that the cause of tooth decay was tooth worms.

Proposed cures for toothache were numerous. Early Egyptians wore amulets. An Egyptian named Hesy-Re, is known as the first dentist. Praise for his dentistry is inscribed on his tomb. Unfortunately it doesn’t delineate what he did to earn the praise. Pliny, the Elder, recommended finding a frog at midnight and asking it to take away the pain.

The doctor to Emperor Claudius around 50 A.D. had his toothache patients inhale smoke produced by scattering certain seeds on burning charcoal and then rinsing the mouth with hot water. This was to expel the tooth worms.

On the more practical side Aristotle and Hippocrates both wrote about the treatment of tooth decay. A primitive forceps was used for extracting teeth. Some dentists at that time were able to weave wire in the teeth to stabilize loose teeth.

Medieval Torture

From about 500 A.D. to 1100 A.D. monks were well educated and well trained and did some of the surgical procedures of the time. Barbers handled the rest of the operations, especially blood letting and tooth extractions. In 1163 the Pope put a stop to all surgeries by monks and the field was left open to the barbers. Barbers were, after all, very skilled with knives and razors. In fact, the barber pole, red and white spiraling stripes, is a symbol of the blood letting; red for blood. white for bandages.

In the 1300s a Barbers’ Guild was established which divided the barbers into two groups: those with the skills and training to do procedures and those who were relegated to blood letting and tooth extractions. Pliers from a blacksmith’s foundry were the only device available.

Barbers would often go to fairs and advertise painless tooth pulling. A shill in the audience would come on the stage, feigning severe toothache. The barber would pretend to extract tooth, pulling out a bloody molar he had palmed earlier. The supposed sufferer would jump for joy. The barbers set up near the bands at the fairs so that the music would drown out the screams of their patients.

If the tooth was loose enough, the barber would tie a string around the tooth and yank hard to extract the tooth. This was a much less painful and dangerous procedure than the pliers. The pliers often fractured other teeth and sometimes the jaw. The procedure was far from sterile and infection was a common problem and some people bled to death.

The Renaissance and the Rise of Tooth Decay

In the 1400s refined sugar was introduced into Europe but only reached the tables of the wealthy. While their betters were munching on sweets, the poorer folk suffered fewer toothaches. Queen Elizabeth I was known for her blackened teeth. George Washington had a tooth extraction every year after age 22. He supposedly had a set of wooden false teeth but his dentures were actually ivory.

The earliest instrument designed for tooth extraction was the dental pelican, which was shaped something like a pelican’s beak. The pelican was replaced in the 1700s by the dental key, which was fitted down over the affected tooth and was better able to grip the tooth. Both still often caused more damage than relief.

The Development of Modern Dentistry

Modern dental equipment began to be introduced in the 1800s about the time when dentistry became a profession and dental schools began to open. Ether was used starting in 1846 to anesthetize the pain and local anesthetics were introduced in the early 1900s.

Modern dentists no longer have to seat their patients on the floor and have helpers to hold them down. Dentistry is as close to painless as possible now. There is no excuse to suffer the agony of a toothache these days. And extracting teeth is no longer dangerous. See your dentist regularly.

Surgical Tooth Extraction Versus Non Surgical Tooth Extraction

Surgical Tooth Extraction Versus Non Surgical Tooth Extraction

If you have a tooth that is giving you difficulty, it may be in your best interests to have it extracted. One of the most common questions that we get is whether to perform a surgical, or non surgical removal. In this blog, we will look at the pros and cons of surgical and non surgical methods, the cost of each, recovery time and more. Let’s get right in!

When Is It Time For An Extraction?

Just because you feel discomfort in one or more of your teeth does not need that they need to be removed. There are plenty of dental procedures that may be performed in place of an extraction. These include fillings, root canals, bonding and a few more.

The best way to find out whether your tooth needs to be extracted is to schedule a dentist appointment. We will be able to examine your teeth and recommend a plan of action that is best for you.

Non Surgical Tooth Extraction

Non surgical tooth extraction is used for many tooth removals. Some of the instances where non surgical removal would be advised include: to remove baby teeth, extracting teeth visible within the mouth, and certain other situations.

Here are some of the pros and cons of non surgical tooth removal.

Pro 1: Patients typically recover from this type of tooth removal quickly, allowing them to continue with everyday activities.

Pro 2: Patients experience little to no pain during or after the procedure.

Pro 3: Non surgical procedures are cost effective.

Con 1: With any tooth extraction, there is the risk of complications arising.

Con 2: The area where the tooth was removed may be more susceptible to infection.

As we just mentioned, non surgical extractions are a cost-effective option. Although the price ranges depending on several factors, here is a general estimate for the cost of tooth extraction. Some tooth extractions can cost as little as $100, while more complicated non surgical removals may cost $300 or more in certain cases.

Post procedure recovery is an important part of the extraction. It’s important you take extra care of your mouth to prevent any infections or complications. Here are some of the basic procedures that you should follow immediately after an extraction.

  • Apply ice to the area of the removal.
  • Take painkillers as advised by your dentist.
  • Don’t press down forcefully on the removal area for at least one to two days.
  • Follow any post operation directions that your dentist has laid out.

Additionally, patients often wonder which foods they can safely eat. A few foods that you should consume after an extraction include: bananas, yogurt, soup, applesauce, and other soft foods.

Surgical Tooth Extraction

Another removal method is surgical tooth extraction. As its name suggests, this type of surgical removal requires dentists to make a minor incision to remove the tooth. This procedure is usually done on teeth that are more difficult to remove. Examples of this type of extraction include: wisdom teeth, teeth that have been severely damaged, and teeth broken at the gum line.

Surgical tooth removals come with a different set of pros and cons. Here are a few:

Pro 1: Wisdom tooth removal is important to reduce the risk of other teeth being displaced or damaged.

Pro 2: Severely damaged teeth can cause extreme pain, meaning surgical tooth removal can help your mouth feel a whole lot better.

Pro 3: You can feel confident wearing a new and improved smile.

Con 1: Some patients complain about experiencing discomfort following surgical removal.

Con 2: As compared to non surgical extraction, surgical methods tend to take longer to fully heal.

Surgical tooth extractions are typically a little bit more expensive than non surgical ones. This is because they are often more difficult to perform. Depending on the tooth that is being removed along with other factors, surgical removal typically costs between $200 and $500 dollars. To have wisdom teeth removed typically costs between $200 to $400 dollars.

Recovery from surgical tooth extraction is similar to non surgical, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Give yourself around two days before returning to normal activities.
  • Only consume soft foods and smoothies for several days.
  • Take pain relievers as prescribed.
  • If you feel up to the task, consider rinsing out your mouth with a saline solution. This will keep your mouth clean, reducing the risk of infection.
  • Follow directions laid out by your dentist.

Hopefully, you have learned a great deal about the difference between non surgical and surgical tooth extractions. If you live in the Gilbert or Phoenix areas and you have a tooth that is giving you issues, book an appointment with us at Dental Specialty Associates.

8 Common Reasons For Needing A Tooth Pulled

8 Common Reasons For Needing A Tooth Pulled

Getting a tooth pulled is never fun, but there are times when it is better to extract a tooth than leave it alone. Most of these reasons have to do with supporting your oral health and indeed, your overall health. Medical professionals believe that an infected tooth can even have consequences for a patient’s cardiovascular system. For some reason, bacteria from a decayed tooth sometimes attack the arteries and valves of the heart. Here are some good reasons to get a tooth pulled:

1. Impacted Tooth

This happens when there’s no room in the jaw for the tooth to erupt normally. This is often the case with wisdom teeth, which are the molars found at the very back of the jaw. Some dentists even pull wisdom teeth that are asymptomatic to prevent problems later on.

2. Infected Tooth

Another reason to pull tooth is if it’s infected or has developed an abscess. This is a pocket of pus that’s found at the root of the tooth. Severe decay and abscesses are the reasons most teeth are pulled.

3. Too Many Teeth

Some people are born with too many teeth that aren’t wisdom teeth. These extra teeth can prevent other teeth from erupting normally.

4. Malformed Teeth

Malformed teeth are not only unsightly, but they can adversely affect the way you speak and eat. They can also interfere with regular oral hygiene.

5. Fractured Teeth

Dentists pull a tooth that’s been fractured. They may also extract teeth around the fracture line.

6. To Prepare the Patient for Braces

Some patients who want braces to correct a misaligned bite need to have a tooth or teeth pulled to make sure that the braces fit and can work properly. Teeth are also pulled to accommodate dentures.

7. For Radiation Therapy

Some patients who have to undergo radiation therapy around their head or neck may need to get their teeth pulled.

8. For Appearance

Dentists may remove some teeth because they are unattractive and can’t be restored through cosmetic dentistry for some reason.

How Teeth are Pulled

Tooth extraction is often simple, if not particularly easy. You’re given local anesthesia, and if you’re very nervous you may opt for general anesthesia. The dentist uses instruments to grip the crown of the tooth, lifts it using an elevator, grabs it with forceps and rocks it until it’s loose enough to pull out. Surgery is often necessary to pull a tooth that’s impacted, especially if it is beneath the gums. In that case, the doctor uses a scalpel to open the gums and expose the tooth before it is pulled out. Sometimes, the tooth has to be broken up and removed one piece at a time.

After your tooth is extracted, the dentist presses gauze into the space, and sometimes sutures the incision. These sutures can be absorbable, or the dentist can take them out after a few days.

Tips to Prevent Tooth Extraction

Though some extractions can’t be prevented, as with a wisdom tooth that’s causing symptoms, good dental care is vital to making sure that a tooth doesn’t need to be pulled. This not only means brushing and flossing the teeth but making at least yearly visits to the dentist for deep cleaning.

How to Know You Need Your Tooth Pulled

Unremitting pain is one sign that your dentist may need to pull tooth. Another sign is a wisdom tooth that only partially erupts and looks like it’s erupting on its side. This makes the area subject to bacterial infection. Other signs are pain when you close your jaws and severe gum disease. If you have these symptoms, call your dentist right away.

Many people who have severe tooth pain that comes with an infection find relief by pressing an ice pack against their face. The infection produces gas, which presses against the nerve in the tooth and causes the pain. The ice compresses the gas and relieves the pressure on the nerve.

Any Alternative Methods?

Some people who have tooth pain claim rubbing clove oil on the area eases the ache. But in the end, there’s nothing better than seeing a dentist. If your tooth is paining you and you need to have it pulled, don’t hesitate to call us at Dental Specialty Associates. Our number in Gilbert is (480) 633-9977 and in Phoenix (602) 795-5995.

Fun Facts About Wisdom Teeth

Fun Facts About Wisdom Teeth

Many of us find ourselves in the dentist chair getting ready to have our wisdom teeth pulled out with a lot of questions still unanswered. Why do we have these unwanted teeth? Why do I have to have them pulled out? How much is this going to hurt? Your dentist will answer most of your questions for you, but there’s still a lot about these teeth that you still might not know. Here’s everything you need to know about wisdom teeth, or “love teeth” in Korean.

They Can Be Problematic

These teeth are way in the back of your mouth. This makes them much harder to clean than your other teeth. Since these teeth are hard to clean, it can create serious dental problems. Bacteria can grow and cause decay. This decay could spread to other teeth as well.

These teeth may also come in differently than the other teeth. Sometimes, they may even come in at an odd angel, forcing other teeth to become affected.

Since these problems occur with most people who have them, about 85% of people who have these teeth are recommended to have them removed.

Most of the time people will learn if they need to have their love teeth removed when they visit the dentist. However, you may realize it on your own because of pain.

Not Everyone Gets Them

You may think that everyone is born with the exact same amount of teeth, but that’s not the case. In fact, 35% of people don’t get even one wisdom tooth. Other people may one get one, two, or three. However, most people have four. The more, the more likely of a problem. In some very rare cases, people have been born with even more than four.

Sign of Evolution

We as humans might actually be evolving into a species without these teeth. Years ago, humans had up to twelve of these teeth. This was necessary for primal life, eating hunks of raw meat. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, human brains grew at an accelerated pace. It grew so big that it started to take up a lot more space in our skull. This caused the skull to reshape, forcing the space for our teeth to become limited. That’s why there is not usually enough room in the mouth for these teeth anymore. As we continue to evolve as a species, it is likely that more and more people will e born without these teeth.

They Are Used In Stem Cell Research

Many people think that these teeth are useless, but that’s simply not the case. People have started to use the love teeth in stem cell research after they are removed. It turns out that they may be able to help restore tissue that has been damaged or destroyed. The research is very new, but there seems to be progress. Studies have specifically focused on optical and neurological improvement.

You Can Get Them At Any Time

Most people get their love teeth while they are young. They are typically fully developed when we are teenagers. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, there is an instance of a person not getting these teeth until they were 94. While this is rare, it is possible for people to develop these teeth at any point throughout our life.

Most of us are born with wisdom teeth, but we probably don’t need or want them. Luckily, dentistry has come a long way. Dentists are able to remove these teeth for us easily. It’s still interesting to learn about these teeth and what they tell us about us as human beings.

Pros & Cons Of Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Pros & Cons Of Wisdom Teeth Extraction

What Are the Symptoms from Third Molar Impaction?

You may have a small mouth, and if you have third molars, then there is not enough space for the teeth. Some individuals are born without third molar tooth buds, but other individuals have one to four of these teeth. Occasionally, an individual will have more than four third molars. Wisdom teeth are located toward the back of the mouth at the top or the bottom. You need molars to help you chew food, but there are other molars that perform this task. When you start to have pain toward the back of your mouth, you should have a concern about these teeth. Here are some of the symptoms that are associated with third molar impaction:

  • Swollen gums
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Earaches
  • Grinding the teeth
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Excess saliva
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

In some cases, you can look in your mouth and see the cusp points of a wisdom tooth that is trying to erupt from your gums. However, many third molars will turn sideways trying to erupt from the gums because there isn’t enough space.

What Are the Good and Bad Things about Third Molar Removal?

When you visit a dentist, you learn the pros and cons of having wisdom teeth extraction. Here is a list of the good and bad things that can happen with surgery to remove your impacted third molars.

1. Eliminating Pain

If you don’t have your third molars removed, then the pain will get worse as the teeth try to push through a tiny space. The wisdom teeth may press against the other teeth in your mouth, causing excruciating pain. With surgery, you will notice a reduction in chronic discomfort within a few days.

2. Pain from Surgery

There is some pain from having surgery to remove the third molars. Our dentist will need to use an instrument to pull these teeth from your gums, and if the teeth are located below the gums, then an incision is made during the procedure.

3. You Receive Anesthesia

When you have surgery to remove the third molars, our dentist will give you anesthesia so that you are sedated during the procedure. We will also numb your gums with a special medication so that you won’t feel any pain while the teeth are pulled.

4. Your Entire Face Hurts after Surgery

You will return home to recover from your surgery, but after sleeping for a few hours, you will wake up and feel groggy. In addition, your entire face will hurt for a few days. Our dentist provides ice packs with an elastic strap so that you can keep the items on your swollen jaw.

5. The Risks of a Dry Socket

The major complication from wisdom teeth extraction is having dry sockets. These are the holes where blood clots should form to help the gum tissue heal properly. After your third molars are pulled, these sockets bleed profusely, but our dentist packs the sockets with gauze. At home, you will need to change this gauze frequently for one or two days until the bleeding stops. This is when the blood clot is forming, but it is a delicate substance that requires special care.

6. You Must Follow a Special Dietary Plan

After having dental surgery to remove your third molars, you must follow our special dietary plan. First, you should drink a lot of cool liquids, but you must not use a straw to drink anything. Drinking with a straw can dislodge the delicate blood clots in your gums, leading to a painful dry socket condition. You can also eat soft foods such as soup, mashed potatoes or applesauce. Within one week, you will begin to feel better, so you can return to a normal diet.

7. Life Returns to Normal without Your Wisdom Teeth

Your life will return to its normal routine within a week or two, and no one will notice that you have had your third molars removed. You won’t have pain from the impaction of the teeth, and you won’t need to worry about having dental malocclusions from the pressure of the wisdom teeth.

Choose Our Dental Offices for Your Wisdom Teeth Extraction

When you are having surgery to remove your third molars, you should choose a great dentist who understands the procedure. First, you will need a complete examination with X-rays to determine where the third molars are located in the gums so that our dentist can perform surgery efficiently. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, then our dentist will schedule surgery right away to alleviate your pain. Contact Dental Specialty Associates in Arizona with locations in:

Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more.

How Common Is Dry Socket?

How Common Is Dry Socket?

Most people don’t experience complications after they’ve had their wisdom tooth or another tooth pulled. However, if they do have complications, dry sockets are the most common even though they’re not common at all. Only 2 to 5 percent of people who have a tooth pulled develop them.

What is Dry Socket?

Also called alveolar osteitis, dry socket is is technically the hole in your jaw bone where the tooth used to be. It is dry because the blood clot that forms to protect the surgical wound that occurred when the tooth was pulled either fell out or went away sooner than it should have. Because of this, the bone tissue and the nerves are exposed to anything that comes into your mouth. This not only causes terrible pain but puts the area at risk for infection, since nothing is blocking the entrance of bacteria or other pathogens.

Though alveolar osteitis is uncommon, there are some people who are more at risk for getting it. These are people who do not tend to their oral hygiene the way they should and people who smoke. Other people more at risk for dry sockets have had an unusually difficult tooth extraction surgery or have had their wisdom teeth extracted. Being on birth control pills also makes alveolar osteitis more likely, as is having a history of dry sockets after your teeth have been pulled.

The risk of alveolar osteitis is also a reason your dentist will tell you not to drink through a straw right after you’ve had your tooth pulled. You should also keep rinsing and spitting to a minimum in the days after a tooth extraction.

Finding alveolar osteitis is easy. Open your mouth, and check the place where your tooth was pulled. Instead of seeing a blood clot, you might see bare bone. Soon after, the pain will start, get worse over time and radiate out to your ear. Other symptoms are an unpleasant taste in the mouth and bad breath.

Why Does Dry Socket Happen?

Dry socket seems to happen because something is preventing the blood from clotting. This is why people who smoke are at risk for the condition. Smoking, among other bad things, prevents blood from clotting normally. The birth control pill can also act as an anticoagulant. If you drink through a straw or rinse your mouth out too much, you can simply dislodge the clot.

What You Should Do If You Get It

If you see that you have alveolar osteitis, you should call your dentist. It is alright to use a NSAID to ease the pain, though sometimes the pain can’t be eased by an over-the-counter pain killer. Your dentist may have to give you a stronger drug to keep you comfortable until the alveolar osteitis is corrected.

When you return to the dentist office, they’ll clean out the socket then fill it with a medicated paste to help it heal. If the dentist hasn’t already prescribed antibiotics, they may prescribe some now to make sure that the socket doesn’t become infected. The dentist will probably tell you to rinse your mouth out with a prescription mouthwash or warm salt water while you’re at home. You’ll probably need to visit the office a few times so the dressing can be refreshed.

Call Us If You Have an Alveolar Osteitis

If you live in the Phoenix and Gilbert area and you’ve noticed that the blood clot from a tooth extraction has fallen out or looks loose, call us at Dental Specialty Associates right away. Dry sockets are easy to fix, and repairing them swiftly prevents even more pain and complications. Call right now at (480) 633-9977 in Gilbert and (602) 795-5995 in Phoenix.

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Dental Specialty Associates of Gilbert

2730 S Val Vista Dr
BLDG 11, # 164
Gilbert, AZ 85295
(480) 633-9977

Dental Specialty Associates of Phoenix

4216 N 44th St
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 795-5995

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