Tooth Extraction

Tooth Extraction?

A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. If a tooth has been injured or develops tooth decay, your dentist will recommend treatments to save the tooth first such as a filling or crown. In cases where the tooth is too severely damaged, your dentist may recommend for the tooth to be extracted.

There are many reasons why a tooth extraction may be necessary, including:

  • A Crowded Mouth: caused by teeth that cannot fit in your jaw to properly align teeth
  • Infection: extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection
  • Risk of Infection: the risk of infection in a tooth may be reason enough to have it extracted
  • Periodontal Disease: an infection of the tissue and bone structure that surround and support the teeth can cause loosening of the teeth

 

Two Types of Tooth Extractions:

  1. Simple tooth extraction: performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. General dentists commonly do simple extractions.
  2. Surgical tooth extraction: a more complex procedure. It is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come into the mouth yet. The doctor will have to make a small incision into the gum, remove some of the bone around the tooth, or cut the tooth in sections to extract it.

What You Should Expect from Your Tooth Extraction Process:

  • Before the tooth is extracted, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed.
  • You may experience pressure, but no pain during the procedure. If you feel any pain or discomfort, tell your doctor. Once the tooth has been extracted, a blood clot usually forms in the socket.
  • Your dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket and have you bite down on it to help stop the bleeding. Sometimes the dentist will place a few self-dissolving stitches to close the gum edges over the extraction site.

Potential Risks
Thirty percent of all tooth extraction patients develop a dry socket, a painful condition that occurs when a blood clot doesn’t form in the hole, the blood clot breaks off, or the blood clot breaks down too early.It is important to note that having dry socket leaves the underlying bone exposed to air and food. This can cause a bad odor or taste. You should call your dentist, so they can place a sedative dressing over the socket for a few days to protect it as a new clot forms.

Other potential risks or problems such as accidental damage to nearby teeth, an incomplete extraction, and soreness in the jaw muscles and/or jaw joint.

Post Extraction Home Care
Following a tooth extraction, your dentist will send you home to recover. Recovery typically takes a few days. The following can help minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed up recovery:

  • Take painkillers as prescribed.
  • Bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood every 30 minutes. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for three to four hours after the extraction.
  • Apply an ice bag to the side of your face immediately after the procedure to keep down swelling. Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time with a 10-minute break in between.
  • Relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Limit activity for the next day or two.
  • Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket.
  • After 24 hours, rinse with your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
  • Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
  • Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the extraction. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
  • When lying down, prop your head up with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid the extraction site to help prevent infection.