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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.
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, your doctor 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 as 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.
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.
Some bleeding may occur. Placing a piece of moist gauze over the empty tooth socket and biting down firmly for 30 minutes 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.
If swelling occurs, you can place ice on your face for ten minutes and off for 20 minutes. 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 or ibuprofen.
For most extractions, make sure you do your chewing away from the extraction site. Stay away from hot liquids and alcoholic beverages for 24 hours. A liquid diet may be recommended for 24 hours.
Brushing & Cleaning
After the extraction, avoid brushing the teeth near the extraction site for one day. After that you can resume gentle cleaning. Avoid commercial mouth rinses, as they tend to irritate the extraction site.
Beginning 24 hours after the extraction, you can rinse with salt water (one teaspoon salt in a cup of warm water) after meals and before bed.
Dry socket is when a blood clot fails to form in the socket where the tooth has been extracted or the clot has been dislodged and the healing is significantly delayed.
Following the postoperative extraction instructions will reduce the chances of developing dry socket. Dry sockets manifest themselves as a dull throbbing pain that usually doesn’t appear until three to four days after the extraction. The pain can be moderate to severe and radiate from the extraction area. Dry socket may cause a bad taste or bad breath and the extraction site appears dry.
Your doctor will apply a medicated dressing to the dry socket to soothe the pain.
After a tooth has been extracted there will be a resulting hole in your jawbone where the tooth was. In time, this will smooth and fill in with bone. This process can take many weeks or months. However after 1- 2 weeks you should no longer notice any inconvenience.
Replacing Teeth With
- Dental Implants (link to dental implant page)
- Bridges (Link to bridges page).
After Tooth Extraction
After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, insert 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, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and retard 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 some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
Use the pain medication as directed. Call the office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. 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 fluid and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for two to three days, or a reaction to the medication, call the office immediately.
After Removal Of Multiple Teeth
A small amount of bleeding is to be expected following the operation. If bleeding occurs, place a gauze pad directly over the bleeding socket and apply biting pressure for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, a moist tea bag can be used for 30 minutes. If bleeding occurs, avoid hot liquids, exercise, and elevate the head. If bleeding persists, call our office immediately. Do not remove immediate denture unless the bleeding is severe. Expect some oozing around the side of the denture.
Use ice packs (externally) on the same side of the face as the operated area. Apply ice for the first 36 hours only. Apply ice continuously while you are awake.
For mild discomfort use aspirin, Tylenol or any similar medication; two tablets every three to four hours. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 200mg can be taken two to three tablets every three to four hours.
For severe pain, use the prescription given to you. If the pain does not begin to subside in two days, or increases after two days, please call the office. If an antibiotic has been prescribed, finish your prescription regardless of your symptoms.
Drink plenty of fluids. If many teeth have been extracted, the blood lost at this time needs to be replaced. Drink at least six glasses of liquid the first day.
Do not rinse your mouth for the first post-operative day, or while there is bleeding. After the first day, use a warm salt-water rinse every four hours and following meals to flush out particles of food and debris that may lodge in the operated area. (One teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water.). After you have seen your dentist for denture adjustment, take out denture and rinse three to four times a day.
Restrict your diet to liquids and soft foods that are comfortable for you to eat. As the wounds heal, you will be able to advance your diet.
The removal of many teeth at one time is quite different than the extraction of one or two teeth. Because the bone must be shaped and smoothed prior to the insertion of a denture, the following conditions may occur (all of which are considered normal):
- The area operated on will swell, reaching a maximum in two days. Swelling and discoloration around the eye may occur. The application of a moist warm towel will help eliminate the discoloration. The towel should be applied continuously for as long as tolerable beginning 36 hours after surgery (remember ice packs are used for the first 36 hours only).
- A sore throat may develop. The muscles of the throat are near the extraction sites. Swelling into the throat muscles can cause pain. This is normal and should subside in two to three days.
- If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment like Vaseline. There may be a slight elevation of temperature for 24-48 hours. If temperature continues, notify the office.
If immediate dentures have been inserted, sore spots may develop. In most cases, your dentist will see you within 24-48 hours after surgery and make the necessary adjustments to relieve those sore spots. Failure to do so may result in severe denture sores, which may prolong the healing process.