You and your doctor may determine that you need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed. Others may have advanced periodontal disease or are broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth) or in preparation for orthodontic treatment. More recently, teeth are removed after failing endodontic therapy (root canals) that has made the outcome of keeping the tooth unpredictable. The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, problems with your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health. To avoid these complications, we will discuss alternatives to extractions as well replacement of the extracted tooth.
The Extraction Process: At the time of extraction the doctor will need to numb your tooth, jawbone, and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic. During the extraction process you will feel a lot of pressure. This is from the process of firmly rocking the tooth in order to widen the socket for removal. You feel the pressure without pain because the anesthetic has numbed the nerves stopping the transference of pain, yet the nerves that transmit pressure are not profoundly affected. If you do feel pain at any time during the extraction, please let us know right away.
Some teeth require sectioning. This is a very common procedure done when a tooth is so firmly anchored in its socket or the root is curved and the socket can’t expand enough to remove it. The doctor simply cuts the tooth into sections then removes each section one at a time.
After Care: Bleeding Some bleeding may occur. Placing a piece of moist gauze over the empty tooth socket and biting down firmly for about one hour after the extraction can control this.
Blood Clots That Form In the Empty Socket: This is an important part of the healing process and you must be careful not to dislodge the clot. Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the extraction. Avoid use of a straw, smoking, or drinking hot liquids and carbonated beverages.
Swelling To keep the swelling to a minimum, you can place an ice pack on the outside of your face by your extraction for ten minutes and then off for ten minutes. Usually we will indicate on the post op instructions if you should be doing this. You can repeat this cycle as you feel necessary for up to 24 hours.
Pain & Medications If you experience pain, you might use non-prescription pain relief medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). If we feel it was a particularly difficult extraction, we will prescribe a medication like Tylenol with Codeine or Vicodin for pain relief.