A tooth extraction is a procedure to remove a tooth from the gum socket. Extractions can be done by a general dentist or an oral surgeon- your dentist will use x-ray imaging and determine what is the best option for your tooth removal.
Local Anesthesia will always be used when performing a dental extraction. Orals surgeons have the option of using several different levels of sedation if needed.
During an extraction the tooth is loosened by gripping it tightly and wiggling it back and forth until it can be lifted out of the gums. Sometimes a tooth may be broken or decayed where it cannot be simply lifted out of the gums. In cases like this the tooth will be sectioned with a drill first before being removed. Depending on the incision and extraction site, sutures may be needed to close the area. Soluble sutures are the best option, which will dissolve on their own.
You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the extraction. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your dentist. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. You can also use an ice pack for the pain. Your dentist might provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site. Some patients may also require an antibiotic if there is a lot of infection in the area.
We will perform an extensive review of your health history before extractions, so please make sure to update your medication list and health history. Patients are usually comfortable driving after extraction procedures since we do not use general anesthesia.
If you need your wisdom teeth extracted, the dentist will make a treatment plan with the patient that is best overall for the patient. Often times, referrals are given for an oral surgeon to remove wisdom teeth- especially if they are impacted in the bone. Some people are able to keep their wisdom teeth but most people do not have enough space for them to erupt and if they do they are often hard to reach. There will be a thorough evaluation of the mouth to determine if there will be need for removal. A panoramic x-ray will be taken to view the position of the teeth.
Wisdom teeth extractions are a fairly common procedure. Wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it means the tooth is coming in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. This can cause pain, the tooth can come in unevenly, or the tooth may only emerge partially. When a wisdom tooth only emerges partially a flap of skin, called an operculum, may form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food may be caught under the skin. This makes it easy for an infection, called pericoronitis, to develop. It will usually go away on its own, but it causes swelling and pain in the area.
You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your extraction[s]. Some recommended foods are:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Ice Cream
- Thin Soups
- ...and other food you can eat without chewing.
When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don't feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist for a follow up.