GUM DISEASE CAN LOOSEN OR SEVERELY DAMAGED TOOTH.
Before removing your tooth, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed.
The best treatment is not needing treatment – if you have healthy teeth and gums! But what if you have a tooth that has decayed or fractured or has been compromised with periodontal disease? Our first priority would be to save the tooth – unlike the treatment you may have received back in the day. But for various reasons, including time and finances, the tooth in question may need to be extracted. Remember, your teeth are there for a reason, even a holistic reason where we now know is associated with your whole body health.
Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, we will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other treatment. Sometimes, though, there is too much damage for the tooth to be repaired. This is the most common reason for extracting a tooth.
We will make your visit comfortable and as painless as possible but your treatment doesn’t end there. We will discuss your options for replacing your lost tooth and restoring your optimal health, orally and systemically. Losing a tooth has a domino effect – when you lose one, others follow. Your teeth rely on each other for support and function. When both are lost due to an extraction, often teeth nearby will become compromised. We will help restore your proper function by offering you different restorative options such as bridges, implants and/or even orthodontics!
We will ask about your medical and dental histories and take an X-ray of the area to help plan the best way to remove the tooth.
If you are having your wisdom teeth removed, you may have a panoramic X-ray. This X-ray takes a picture of all of your teeth at once. It can show several things that help to guide an extraction:
- The relationship of your wisdom teeth to your other teeth.
- The upper teeth’s relationship to your sinuses.
- The lower teeth’s relationship to the inferior alveolar nerve. This nerve gives feeling to your lower jaw, lower teeth, lower lip and chin.
- Any infections, tumors or bone disease that may be present. Antibiotics may need to be taken before and after surgery.
When there’s too much damage for the tooth to be repaired, the tooth may need to be extracted.
A surgical extraction involves teeth that cannot be seen easily in the mouth. They may have broken off at the gum line or they may not have come in yet. To see and remove the tooth, the dentist or oral surgeon must cut and pull back the gums. Pulling back the gum “flap” provides access to remove bone and/or a piece of the tooth. Because surgical extractions are more complicated, they generally cause more pain after the procedure. The level of discomfort and how long it lasts will depend on the difficulty of the extraction. We may prescribe pain medication for a few days. Most pain disappears after a couple of days.
A cut in the mouth tends to bleed more than a cut on the skin because it cannot dry out and form a scab. After an extraction, you will be asked to bite on a piece of gauze for about 20 to 30 minutes. This will put pressure on the area and allow the blood to clot. It still may bleed a small amount for the next 24 hours and taper off after that. Do not disturb the clot that forms on the wound.
You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling after the operation. If your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling goes away, try a warm compress. Eat soft and cool foods for a few days. Then try other foods as you feel comfortable. A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can also help to keep the area clean. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in one cup of water. Initial healing takes at least two weeks.
If you need stitches, they usually disappear (dissolve) on their own. They should disappear within one to two weeks. Rinsing with warm salt water will help the stitches dissolve. Some stitches need to be removed by either our office or that of an oral surgeon.
You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was. That causes more bleeding and can lead to a dry socket, which occurs in about 3% to 4% of all extractions. Dry socket occurs 20% to 30% of the time when impacted teeth are removed. It happens more often in smokers and women who take birth control pills. It is also more likely after difficult extractions.