Tooth Extractions

A tooth extraction may be necessary when a tooth is severely decayed, has advanced periodontal disease, or is broken beyond repair. Sometimes teeth are also removed because they are poorly positioned in the mouth or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.

Extracting a single tooth can impact your chewing ability and jaw joint, and cause shifting teeth, negatively affecting your dental health. To prevent these complications, alternatives to extractions and replacement options for the extracted tooth will be discussed in most cases.

The Extraction Process

The dentist or oral surgeon will numb the tooth, jaw bone, and gums surrounding the area with a local anesthetic during extraction. You may feel some pressure during the procedure, but you shouldn’t feel pain as the anesthetic will numb the nerves that transmit pain.

If you feel pain at any point during the extraction, let the dentist know immediately. Some teeth may require sectioning, a standard procedure when a tooth is firmly anchored in its socket or if the root is curved and the socket can’t expand enough to remove it. In such cases, the dentist will cut the tooth into sections and remove them one at a time.

After Tooth Extraction

A blood clot needs to form after tooth extraction to stop the bleeding and start healing. Bite down on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes immediately after the procedure. If bleeding or oozing continues, place another gauze pad and bite down firmly for another 30 minutes. You may need to repeat this process several times to staunch the blood flow.

It’s important not to disturb or dislodge the clot once it forms. Avoid rinsing your mouth vigorously, sucking on straws, smoking, drinking alcohol, or brushing your teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot, hindering the healing process. In addition, limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this can increase blood pressure and cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

After the tooth extraction, you may experience some pain and swelling. Applying an ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn to the area can help reduce swelling. Take pain medications as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.

Follow the instructions given to you by your dentist or oral surgeon for pain medication use. If the medication doesn’t work, contact your dental professional. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue taking them for the recommended length, even if the signs and symptoms of infection have gone away.

Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious, soft foods on the extraction day. You can resume your regular diet as soon as you’re comfortable. Resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours, including brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This can help speed up healing and keep your mouth clean and fresh.

If you experience heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.