Natural teeth are designed for chewing, biting and preserving the bone structure of your mouth. Our first priority is to save them. However, there may be instances where a tooth must be extracted. Reasons for extraction include:
- 1A tooth that is broken to point that repairing it is not an option
- 2Decay that extends to the pulp, the tooth’s center, which is filled with blood vessels and nerves. When bacteria enter the pulp causing infection, and it is too severe to correct with a root canal or treat with antibiotics, then we will recommend extracting the tooth.
- 3Crowding of the mouth, which happens often when wisdom teeth (also known as third molars) grow in. As they break through the gums, they often get lodged in the jaw or impacted, causing swelling and pain.
- 4Periodontal disease, which is an infection of the gum tissue and bone, that often causes the surrounding teeth to loosen. This can leave us with no option but to extract the loosened tooth or, in some cases, teeth.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Extractions should only be performed by a dentist or oral surgeon. After determining that the tooth cannot be saved, we will inject you with a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. In the case where more than one tooth is extracted, we may need to use a stronger general anesthetic, allowing you to comfortably sleep during the extraction.
Once the tooth is extracted, we will pad the empty socket with gauze to stop the bleeding. The procedure may call for a couple of self-dissolving stiches.
Recovery typically takes a few days. Here are some simple things you can do to minimize discomfort, prevent infection and speed up your recovery time:
- 1If we prescribed painkillers, take only as directed.
- 2Apply an ice pack to the outside of the area where the tooth was extracted several times a day, for no more than 10 minutes each session. This will minimize the swelling.
- 3Avoid rapid swishing or spitting of water or any liquid for 24 for hours after the extraction, as this may loosen the blood clot that forms naturally to minimize bleeding.
- 4Do no smoke tobacco or marijuana, as this will obstruct the healing process
- 5Do not vape, as to keep your open socket away from the many chemicals that are in the vapor
- 6Avoid hard foods. Soup, yogurt and smoothies are examples of the foods you should eat for the first day at least or, longer, as we prescribe. You will want to add harder foods gradually in keeping with the rate your mouth heals.
- 7Avoid the site of extraction when brushing or flossing until the area is healed.
We will schedule a follow up visit, to ensure your procedure and healing process is going as expected. If you have questions or need a consultation to see if you are a candidate for a tooth extraction, call us today at 704.875.7200. The longer you wait, especially if your tooth is infected, the more intense the treatment.