Painless, Beneficial Tooth Extractions
At Chapko & Shah Modern Dentistry, we understand that the idea of having a tooth extracted can cause trepidation. One of the main goals of modern dentistry is to prevent oral disease and preserve your natural teeth, but sometimes, certain teeth cause too many health problems for them to remain in your mouth. That’s why at Chapko & Shah Modern Dentistry, our dentists offer painless and beneficial tooth extraction.
What Is Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction refers to the processes for removing teeth using surgical and non-surgical means. Simple (non-surgical) tooth extraction involves removing teeth without making incisions into the gum tissue to access the tooth. Surgical tooth extraction requires incisions to be made in the gums to properly access all parts of the tooth for extraction.
Benefits of Tooth Extraction
Rest assured that our dentists will never perform any extraction unless it’s beneficial to your oral health. Fortunately, tooth extractions can have many benefits, some of which include:
- Alleviating pain, sensitivity, and throbbing
- Preparing your mouth for restorative options such as dental implants and bridges
- Aiding orthodontic treatments like Invisalign®
- Preventing the spread of infection and other oral diseases
- Helping a tooth erupt properly
Who Needs a Tooth Extraction?
You may require a tooth extraction if you have:
- An impacted wisdom tooth
- Damaged, decayed, or overcrowded teeth
- Severe dental trauma
- A primary tooth that fails to erupt properly
- Periodontal or gum disease
Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth removal is the most common reason for tooth extractions. Wisdom teeth are the third set of back molars and the last set of permanent teeth that come in. Typically, your wisdom teeth develop between the ages of 17-25 years old. While certain individuals may never experience problems with their wisdom teeth, the way the human mouth has developed means wisdom teeth don’t always have room to come in properly.
When these molars don’t have room to grow, it can lead to impaction. An impacted wisdom tooth is fixed below the gum line and may even grow sideways or only partially erupt. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause oral health issues such as:
- Crowding, damage, or decay in adjacent teeth
- Tooth infection
- Inflamed or swollen gums
- Bad breath
Impaction can occur in teeth besides the wisdom teeth as well, but it’s more common in wisdom teeth due to the lack of room for them in most mouths. Impacted wisdom teeth need to be extracted through surgical means, or they can continue to cause problems.
The Tooth Extraction Process
Before any extractions take place, you’ll undergo an initial consultation with one of our dentists. During your consultation, they’ll thoroughly examine your mouth, review your medical history, and discuss sedation options and your smile goals with you. The information your dentist gathers will allow them to determine if a tooth extraction is right for you or whether an alternative treatment is recommended.
Before any teeth are extracted, our dentist will ask you to rinse your mouth out to clear it of debris. Then, we’ll administer a local anesthetic, as well as any in-office sedation options you may have chosen. If you took a sedative at home, we’ll ensure it’s working properly alongside your anesthetic before the next step of the procedure.
For simple tooth extraction, your dentist will use special tools to grasp, loosen, and extract the tooth from its socket. For surgical tooth extraction, your dentist will make an incision into your gums to fully expose every portion of the tooth. In certain cases, your dentist may need to remove portions of bone or break the tooth into smaller pieces to make extraction easier. After the tooth is removed, we’ll clean and disinfect the area, and apply a gauze pad to promote healing.
Your dentist will give you specific instructions that you’ll need to follow based on your individual case. Some of the general rules our dentists recommend after extraction include:
- Attend follow-up exams.
- Avoid strenuous activity for at least 24 hours after your procedure.
- Avoid smoking or using tobacco products.
- Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Use over-the-counter pain medication to control pain and discomfort.
- Take any prescribed antibiotics as directed.
- Gently rinse your mouth using one teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8oz of warm water or an antimicrobial mouthwash three to four times a day after you eat.
- Avoid vigorous rinsing, spitting, and sucking on straws for the first 72 hours after your procedure.
- Don’t touch the surgical site when you brush and floss.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before eating again after a tooth extraction, wait for your anesthetic to wear off so you don’t accidentally bite down too hard and damage your mouth, lips, or gums. When you do start eating again, you should stick to soft foods like:
- Jell-O ®
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese
- Mashed potatoes
Avoid foods that are crunchy, hard, acidic, spicy, and sticky. You should also make sure you stick to drinks that are non-alcoholic, room temperature, non-acidic, non-carbonated, and non-caffeinated.
Following these guidelines after extraction will help keep the healing process on track. Your dentist will give you more specific guidelines on what and when you can eat and drink after your procedure.
Gauze generally needs to be kept in for 45 minutes after extraction and should be removed when you eat and drink, then replaced. Your dentist may recommend you keep the gauze in for more or less time, depending on your case.
Some possible signs of post-extraction complications include:
- Nerve injury from tooth loss, causing numbness in your mouth after surgery
- Infection caused by poor oral hygiene after your tooth extraction
- Dry socket if a blood clot fails to form properly at the surgical site
- Swelling and bleeding that lasts for more than 24 hours
- Blood clot dislodging from the surgical site
Sleep on your side with your head elevated so the fluid can drain properly from the extraction suite. This will encourage proper healing and reduce pain.