While it’s always our goal to care for and maintain your natural teeth, there are cases when removing a tooth is in your best interest. We work to make extractions as easy as possible so you can concentrate on a quick recovery.
The Process of Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction is typically a very fast process—we will use anesthesia to ensure you’re comfortable. The most critical part of the process is recovery. We need to ensure we control the bleeding and encourage a proper healing process immediately following the tooth extraction. This involves having you bite down on a gauze pad for 30 to 45 minutes to form a blood clot—you must be extremely careful not to disturb the blood clot for the next 24 hours. To manage to swell, we recommend an ice pack on the outer check, and once the swelling has gone down, a warm compress to the same area for comfort. Gentle rinses with warm salt water also help keep the extraction area clean.
What causes the need for tooth extraction?
Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. Teeth extraction usually occurs when a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay and there is too much damage for the tooth to be repaired by a filling or crown.
However, there are other reasons for tooth extraction including, extra teeth growing in that are blocking others, baby teeth that haven’t fallen out in time for the permanent teeth to come in, braces, wisdom teeth that are commonly removed or medical reasons.
When and why are wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth are the very last teeth to develop, and they grow in the very back of the mouth. In most cases, you will start to feel these teeth emerge when you are in your late teens or early twenties. Almost everyone has these teeth removed. Many common reasons for their removal include: Inadequate space for the teeth to erupt in the mouth, difficult access to properly clean these teeth, inflammation of the gums around wisdom teeth, abnormal angulations of these teeth which can result in complications for the second molars, and severe infections that if occur can cause swelling of the airway and suffocation. Generally the risks of maintaining these teeth outweigh the benefits of maintaining them, so it is recommended to the majority of people to have them removed.
How to Prevent Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction
When you have a tooth extracted, you develop a blood clot shortly after the surgery to begin the healing process. If this blood clot becomes dislodged before your mouth has fully healed it can cause pain, this is called dry socket.
Six tips for avoiding dry socket are:
- Avoid Straws or anything that creates a suction movement of air and check muscles.
- Avoid smoking tobacco as fast inhalation can dislodge your blood clot and the chemicals may prevent healing or cause an infection.
- Eat soft foods only like applesauce, yogurt, and mashed potatoes for the first one or two days.
- Inquire about any medicines you’re taking to ensure they don’t interact with the healing process.
- Use proper oral hygiene to keep your mouth clean and consider an antibacterial mouthwash
- Follow your doctor’s instruction on proper oral care to improve recovery time.