There may come a time that you have a dental problem so severe that no treatment is available to restore it and the only option is to remove the tooth. Our dentists have many years of experience performing teeth extraction and have extracted over 20,000 teeth!
Removing a tooth is always a last resort. We’ll do whatever we can to repair the tooth with a root canal or crown first. But, if a tooth must be extracted, we’ll take care of it for you, administering a local anesthetic to make sure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure.
Generally, the procedure is required after the teeth had been diagnosed with symptoms such as severe tooth decay, crowding, or impaction.
Extracting teeth can lead to a weakening of the bone that supports the tooth. A bone graft procedure will be performed to ensure the bone remains strong and healthy. The procedure consists of placing human bone granules into the socket after the extraction, a protective substance will then cover the granules and be stitched into the socket to prevent secondary infections.
Surgical extractions are sometimes necessary for teeth that must be removed but cannot easily be accessed. Like common extractions, you’ll be given a local anesthetic to make you comfortable during the procedure.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Most people have wisdom teeth, but can’t keep them clean or don’t have room in their mouths for their wisdom teeth to completely break through their gums. Sometimes, wisdom teeth can partially break through, leaving a small space for decay to set in. Tooth decay can infect the tooth and surrounding areas, and may cause substantial pain. If you’re in pain from a decaying wisdom tooth, Emergency Dental Care can treat the infection, and if necessary, extract the tooth.
Pre-op Instructions - Tooth Extraction
Your mouth and teeth should be clean prior to surgery. Please brush and floss before your appointment.
Patients under 18 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing, preferably with short sleeves. Do not wear a tight collar or necktie.
Plan for a soft food diet (such as lukewarm soup, ice cream, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, pasta) for a day or two following surgery.
If you are taking prescription medications, you may take them on your regular schedule with a small sip of water. Anticoagulant medications (such as Coumadin and Plavix) may need to be stopped for a period of time before surgery; please contact your medical doctor for specific instructions related to these types of medications.
Patients having local anesthesia or nitrous oxide:
Follow all general instructions (above).
You may eat a light meal prior to your surgical appointment.
You may drive yourself home, although you may wish to bring a driver.
Post-op Instructions - Tooth Extraction
DO NOT DISTURB THE AREA: For the next few days, and especially the first 24 hours, it is very important to allow your body to form a good clot and start the natural healing process. Swishing, sucking through a straw, and smoking can all dislodge the clot. Keep anything sharp from entering the wound (crunchy food, toothpicks, eating utensils). Be sure to chew on the opposite side for 24 hours.
BLEEDING: When you leave the office, you might be biting on a gauze pad to control bleeding. Keep slight pressure on this gauze for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. Don't change it during this time; it needs to remain undisturbed while a clot forms in the extraction socket. After 45 minutes you may remove it. You may bite on another gauze or a tea bag for another 45 minutes if you feel it is still bleeding. Small amounts of blood in the saliva can make your saliva appear quite red. This is normal and may be noticed the rest of the day after the procedure.
SMOKING: Smoking should be stopped following surgery. Healing and success of the surgery will be substantially reduced by the cigarette smoke chemicals in your body. Also the suction created when inhaling cigarettes can dislodge the clot. Smokers are at greater risk of developing a painful Dry Socket.
PAIN: Some discomfort is normal after surgery. To minimize pain, you can take over the counter pain medications such as Motrin, Tylenol, Aleve or similar non-aspirin pain reliever to maintain comfort. Take it before the anesthesia wears off. If prescription pain medication is prescribed, take it as instructed on the label. Don't exceed the dose on the label. Taking with food or milk will help reduce upset stomach. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when taking pain prescriptions. Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.
NAUSEA: This is most often caused by taking pain medications on an empty stomach. Reduce nausea by preceding each pain pill with soft food, and taking the pill with a large glass of water.
SWELLING: Swelling of the jaw and facial tissues often follows oral surgery. Applying an ice bag to the face over the operated area will minimize swelling. Apply in 15 minute intervals. The ice bag should be used only on the day of surgery although swelling may persist and even increase for the next day or two before it begins to subside. At times, difficulty in fully opening the mouth will follow some oral surgery procedures. As the swelling resolves, a normal degree of opening should return.
NUMBNESS: The local anesthetic will cause you to be numb for several hours after you leave the office. Be very careful not to bite, chew, pinch, or scratch the numb area. Sometimes the extraction causes residual numbness or tingling for six weeks or longer.
BRUSHING: Do not brush your teeth for the first 8 hours after surgery. After this, you may brush your teeth gently, but avoid the area of surgery for 3 days.
RINSING: Avoid all rinsing or swishing for 48 hours after extraction. Rinsing can disturb the formation of a healing blood clot which is essential to proper healing. This could cause bleeding and risk of dry socket. After 48 hours you may begin gentle rinsing with a saltwater solution (1/2 teaspoon salt + 8 ounces’ warm water). Avoid commercial mouthwashes during the healing period.
DIET: Eat soft foods for the first two days. Maintain a good, balanced diet. Return to normal regular meals as soon as you are able after the first two days. Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol for 48 hours.
ACTIVITY: After leaving the office, rest and avoid strenuous activities for the remainder of the day. Keeping blood pressure lower will reduce bleeding and aid healing.
ANTIBIOTICS: If you were given an antibiotic prescription, take all of them as directed until they are gone. Women: some antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Use alternate birth control methods for two months.
SINUS: If your sinus was involved in the procedure, you should avoid blowing your nose or playing a wind musical instrument for one week. Use of decongestant medications might be recommended.
FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS: You may need to return to the office to have sutures removed, or just for a brief follow-up healing check.
Please call your dentist if you have:
- uncontrollable pain
- excessive or severe bleeding
- marked fever
- excessive warm swelling occurring a few days after the procedure
- reactions to medications, especially rash, itching, or breathing problems
Following these instructions very closely will greatly help your comfort, and promote uneventful healing of the area. If any of the instructions are not followed, you might have significantly more discomfort, and the success of the procedure may be affected.