When is a tooth extraction necessary?
There are many reasons why you may need a tooth extraction. Your teeth may be severely decayed or cracked beyond repair. Advanced periodontal disease may make tooth extraction necessary. Some teeth are impacted, meaning they are stuck in bone or gum tissue, as can happen with Wisdom teeth. Finally, some teeth are removed in preparation for further treatment, like dentures or implants.
Removing a tooth without replacing it can lead to further problems, impacting your chewing and speaking ability, causing other teeth to shift, and leading to problems with your jaw joint. To avoid these issues, we will discuss options for tooth replacement along with extraction.
How is a tooth extracted?
Your dentist will numb the area surrounding the tooth with a local anesthetic that should prevent any pain. If you do experience pain during the operation, immediately inform your dentist so we can adjust the medication. However, you will still feel a sensation of pressure. Local anesthetics affect the nerves that transmit pain signals, but they do not affect the nerves that transmit pressure. Your dentist will need to rock the tooth back and forth to widen its socket. If the sensation becomes too intense, inform us immediately.
Some teeth are firmly anchored in their sockets, or their roots are curved, making removal difficult. These teeth will require sectioning, where your dentist cuts the tooth into sections, allowing removal of one piece at a time.
What happens after tooth extraction?
Bleeding will occur, and you will form a blood clot to start the healing process. After the extraction, bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes. If bleeding still persists, bite on another pad for an additional thirty minutes. Repeat this process until the bleeding stops.
It is essential to keep the blood clot in place without disturbing or dislodging it. Avoid vigorous rinsing, sucking on straws, drinking alcohol, smoking, or brushing next to the extraction site for the next 72 hours. Also limit vigorous exercise for 24 hours, since exercise increases blood pressure and may restart bleeding at the extraction site.
If swelling occurs near the extraction site, apply an ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen corn or peas to the affected area. These symptoms usually subside within 48 hours. Also, take any pain medications that have been prescribed and call us if the medication seems to be ineffective. If we have prescribed antibiotics, continue taking them for the prescribed length of time even if signs of infection have disappeared. On the day of your extraction, drink plenty of fluids and eat soft food. As soon as you feel comfortable, you may resume your normal diet.
After 24 hours, resume a daily oral hygiene routine, brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day. Keeping your teeth clean speeds up the healing process. Any swelling, pain, or other symptoms should subside within a few days, and you can resume normal activities. Call us immediately if you have severe pain, swelling, or heavy bleeding that persists for several days.
Tooth extraction is a common procedure. Call us at (508) 872-8806 if you may need one or more teeth extracted. We are committed to making the process as comfortable as possible.