Tooth extraction may sound simple but it is as important as many other dental procedures and requires planning and thorough evaluation before deciding to go through with it. When a patient is properly informed of the whole process, he/she can make the necessary preparations and know what to expect. Healing times may also be hastened and infection minimized when the patient decided that it is the best option available.
There are many reasons for tooth extraction, the most common are:
- Tooth decay, broken or damaged tooth
- Advanced gum disease
- Non-functional, malpositioned or impacted tooth
- Orthodontic purposes
Whatever the reason, the dentist must discuss in detail how the extraction can affect the remaining teeth. When a tooth is removed through extraction, the remaining teeth may loosen, move or drift. The missing tooth may also affect chewing and jaw function or appearance. The space can also trap food debris and particles which may cause gum problems and tooth decay later on. At Midtown Dentistry, patients’ concerns and issues are addressed promptly and properly to ensure their safety and comfort.
Tooth extraction involves the numbing of the tooth, gum and bone tissue by administering local anesthesia. Since the tooth is tightly held by a ligament, the dentist will widen and enlarge the socket before pulling it out. The patient would not feel the pain during the whole procedure because of the anesthesia.
Post-Op Home Care
After the extraction, bleeding may occur. If this happens, get a clean, moist gauze and place it over the extraction area. Bite the gauze to create enough pressure on the extraction site for about 45 minutes to an hour. If the bleeding persists, you may use a moistened tea bag instead of gauze. The tannic acid from tea can aid the formation of blood clots. Repeat the process as needed. For unusual or heavy bleeding, inform your dentist immediately.
Blood clot hastens the healing process so take it easy and do not engage in strenuous activities right away to prevent dislodging it. Avoid taking hot liquids (as it can dissolve blood clots), spitting or rinsing vigorously for the next 24 hours. Smoking must be avoided for at least 48 hours. The patient also needs to go on a soft diet. Sleep with your head positioned above your heart level to maintain normal blood pressure.
Swelling is a common effect of tooth extraction although some don’t experience it at all. If you noticed swelling it can be easily remedied by placing an ice pack against your face, in the area where you had extraction, for ten minutes. Remove the ice pack for the next 20 minutes then repeat the process for the next 24 hours.
Pain and discomfort
The dentist can prescribe over-the-counter medicine to alleviate pain in case you experience it. Some of these pain medications can make you drowsy so make sure you follow instructions and stay at home, if possible, while taking them.
As mentioned earlier, going on a soft diet is recommended to help the healing process. Do not chew on the extraction area. Avoid drinking hot liquids and alcoholic beverages as well.
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene even after tooth extraction. For the first 24 hours, do not brush near the extraction area. You may brush the teeth near the extraction site the next day but be very gentle. Do not use mouthwash or mouth rinse as it may irritate the extraction site. Avoid rinsing vigorously for at least the first 24 hours.
Avoiding dry socket
Dry socket is a complication of tooth extraction and it is related to loss of blood clots. It usually occurs three or four days after extraction. It may manifest as dull and throbbing pain. Dry socket may cause bad odor. If you experience this, contact your dentist and discuss how to address it properly.
If there are no major complications, your gums should show significant healing after seven to ten days. Stitches may be removed during this time too. After three or four weeks, soft tissue healing is expected. Bone tissue healing on the other hand may take a little more time. Bone healing may take six to eight months. You need to consult regularly with your dentist to monitor your progress especially when you need to get started with tooth replacement procedures.