Your doctor might decide a tooth extraction procedure is necessary for several reasons. Gum disease and severe decay often necessitate removing a tooth. Or a tooth may need to be removed because it is too badly damaged to repair. Tooth extractions may also be necessary in preparation for orthodontic treatment or because the teeth are impacted.
Tooth removals are often followed by a replacement tooth treatment to avoid long-term damage to the jaw. Leaving a vacant space in the tooth extraction point can lead to loss of bone mass and instability in the jaw.
During a consultation, your oral surgeon discusses all the options available for treatment. This might include alternatives to a tooth extraction as well as replacing the extracted tooth with a prosthetic.
What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction
The first thing your oral surgeon does is to numb your mouth, gums, and jawbone with a local anesthetic. You will not feel any pain during the tooth extraction, but you will feel some pressure, as your oral surgeon has to loosen the tooth by rocking it back and forth. The local anesthetic numbs your nerves but has little effect on the sensation of pressure on your jaw.
At no time during your procedure should you feel any pain. If you feel the slightest bit of pain, make your doctor immediately aware.
Sectioning a Tooth for Removal
Sometimes, the root of a tooth is curved and won’t fit through the socket to be extracted. This is a common issue that occurs during tooth removals, and the oral surgeon simply sections the tooth. Sectioning a tooth means cutting it into little sections that are removed one by one.
After Tooth Removal Surgery
One of the most important stages of the tooth removal process is after your surgery. A clot has to form over the tooth extraction area to stop the bleeding and start the healing process.
Bite on a gauze pad for one hour after your procedure. If bleeding and oozing persist after an hour, replace it with a fresh piece of gauze and bite down for another 30 minutes. Do not chew or shift the gauze inside your mouth while biting down.
Once a clot has formed, do not disturb or dislodge the clot to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery. Do not use a straw, rinse, or spit for a full 24-hours post-operative. Refrain from raising your blood pressure and avoid strenuous activity for the first 24-hours to keep the extraction area from bleeding.
Managing Pain or Swelling with Medication and Ice
You may experience some minor swelling or discomfort when the anesthetic wears off. Have over-the-counter pain medication on hand and a couple of ice packs ready and waiting for you at home. The ice packs will help you minimize swelling and manage soreness in the first 48-hours after surgery.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take them as prescribed until it is complete. Do not stop taking your antibiotic, even if symptoms subside. Stopping short of the full treatment exposes you to a higher risk of contracting an infection.
Eating, Dental Hygiene, and Resuming Normal Activities
Follow the instructions for your over-the-counter and prescription pain medication. Drink plenty of water, and as soon as you feel able, you may resume your normal diet. When eating, chew your food away from the surgical area to avoid disturbing the clot.
After the first 24-hours following surgery, you may resume your normal dental hygiene routine. Brush and floss your teeth 3-times a day to ensure you don’t develop an infection. Brush the surgical site gently and avoid scraping the area.
What to Do if Bleeding Continues After 48-Hours
You should start feeling yourself again and resume your normal life a few days post-surgery. If heavy bleeding, continued swelling, or severe pain persists after the first 48-hours, call the office immediately at .
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