Having anything surgically removed can be traumatic, regardless of how necessary it is. Thankfully, tooth extractions are one of the least complex surgical procedures you can have. Typically, extractions are a result of disease, injury trauma to your mouth, or overcrowding of your teeth. Here are answers from the dentist in Surrey BC to some of the most common questions patients ask about this topic.
Why does a tooth need to be extracted?
There are various reasons why a tooth might need to be removed. These include overcrowding of the mouth, making space for orthodontic treatment, tooth decay, damaged teeth or infection. If you’ve had pain for some time, it’s worth getting a dental examination to determine whether your tooth can be saved by root canal therapy. If not, then tooth extraction is in your future. Wisdom teeth also often need to be extracted, because they contribute to overcrowding or develop decay. If wisdom teeth have insufficient room to erupt properly, they may become impacted inside the jaw bone.
What happens during a tooth extraction appointment?
The dentist first numbs the surrounding area with local anesthetic, to make sure you don’t feel any tooth extraction pain. Once the anesthetic takes effect, your dentist will use special tools made for surgical tooth extraction to loosen it from the jawbone for removal. If you are nervous about removing a tooth, your dentist can perform the procedure under minimal oral sedation. For more information about minimal oral sedation please click here.
What happens after the procedure?
It’s normal to experience some pain after the anesthetic wears off, but it can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Your dentist will give you specific instructions to follow, such as using sterile gauze to absorb any tooth extraction bleeding that occurs and prevent infection You’ll be advised to avoid using mouth rinse and to make up a formula of warm salt water instead. This will soothe the inflammation provided you don’t swish it around your mouth and burst the blood clot.
If your pain is severe, you may have developed a dry socket, which occurs when the blood flow to the wound site is not enough to promote healing. A dry socket can be very painful, and it requires cleaning and medication to restore it to good health.
What can I do to help the healing process?
There are several ways to speed up the tooth extraction healing time, and your dentist will provide you with detailed instructions to follow. These may include:
- Eating softer foods, avoiding smoking and spitting for 2 to 3 days, and not drinking through straws for 24 hours after the procedure to avoid bursting the blood clot at the wound site.
- Icing the affected area to sooth the pain and take in only food and drinks that are moderate in temperature.
- Placing gauze on the wound site and biting down on it with pressure to reduce bleeding
- Avoiding aspirin and other blood-thinning medications for a few days
- Focus on eating soft foods only for a few days following the extraction
In addition, you can brush your teeth but avoid the extraction site for a few days to avoid aggravating the wound.
Once the tooth extraction site has healed, you should consider replacing the missing tooth with either an implant or bridge.
For more information on tooth extraction procedures and aftercare, please call the dentist in Surrey BC and schedule your appointment today.