Your doctor may determine that you need a tooth extraction for a number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed; others may be due to advanced periodontal disease or have 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.
To avoid the possibility of a single tooth extraction leading to problems related to chewing ability, jaw joint, and shifting teeth which can have a major impact on your dental health, your doctor may discuss alternatives to extractions as well as replacement of the extracted tooth.
The Extraction Process
At the time of extraction, the doctor will numb your tooth and surrounding area with a local anesthetic. During the extraction process, you will feel some pressure from the process of firmly rocking the tooth in order to widen the socket for removal, but you should not feel any pain.
Sectioning a Tooth
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 Tooth Extraction
It’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process, so you will be asked to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.
After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids healing. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, or drink alcohol next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and slow the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted, you may feel some pain and experience swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take any pain medications as prescribed. Swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. You may eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours such as brushing and flossing at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
You can typically resume your normal activities within a few days. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to any medication, call our office immediately.