We all hope that our natural teeth will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to extract a tooth. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed; others may have advanced periodontal disease, or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
Dr. Mead is able to extract many teeth in his office. In some complex cases, he will refer to an oral surgeon.
What should I know before an extraction?
The decision to extract a permanent tooth should not be taken lightly. Removal of even a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, problems with your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health. If there are restorative alternatives to extraction, Dr. Mead will work hard to save your natural teeth.
Dr. Mead firmly believes it is critical to have a tooth replacement plan in place prior to extraction. Ideally, extracted teeth are immediately replaced with dental implants, bridges, partial dentures or complete dentures. If you need more time to explore your options, Dr. Mead will likely recommend placing a bone graft at the extraction site so that your bone level is preserved and you avoid the complications of bone loss. This also allows you to still have many tooth replacement options down the road.
The Extraction Process
At the time of extraction Dr. Mead will need to numb your tooth, jaw bone and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic. During the extraction process you will feel a lot of pressure but you should not feel pain. If you do feel pain at any time during the extraction please let us know right away.
Some teeth require sectioning. This is a very common procedure done when a tooth is so firmly anchored in its socket or the root is curved and the socket can’t expand enough to remove it. Dr. Mead simply cuts the tooth into sections then removes each section one at a time.
After Tooth Extraction
After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes immediately after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood.
After the blood clot forms it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
Use pain medication as directed. Call our office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately.