You may need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons. 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.
The removal of 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.
To avoid these complications, we will discuss ways to replace missing teeth or possible alternatives to extractions.
Post Extraction Home Care
Some bleeding may occur. Placing a piece of moist gauze over the empty tooth socket and biting down firmly for 1 hour can control this. Blood clots form in the empty socket. This is an important part of the healing process and you must be careful not to dislodge the clot.
- Avoid rinsing or spitting for 48 hours after the extraction.
- Avoid use of a straw, smoking or spitting.
If swelling occurs you can place ice on your face for 10 minutes and off for 20 minutes. Repeat this cycle as you feel necessary for up to 24 hours.
Pain and Medications
If you experience pain you may use non-prescription pain relief medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Our dentists may prescribe a stronger pain medication if needed.
For most extractions just make sure you do your chewing away from the extraction site. Stay away from hot liquids and alcoholic beverages for 24 hours. A liquid diet may be recommended for 24 hours.
Brushing and Cleaning
After the extraction avoid brushing the teeth near the extraction site for one day. After that you can resume gentle cleaning. Avoid commercial mouth rinses, as they tend to irritate the site. Beginning 48 hours after the extraction, rinse with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon in a cup of water) after meals and before bed.
A dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form in the socket where the tooth has been extracted or the clot has been dislodged, and the healing is significantly delayed.
Following the post extraction instructions will reduce the chances of developing a dry socket. Dry sockets manifest themselves as a dull throbbing pain, which doesn’t appear until three or four days after the extraction. The pain can be moderate to severe and radiate from the extraction area. Dry socket may cause a bad taste or bad breath and the extraction site appears dry.
A medicated dressing can be applied to the dry socket to soothe the pain.
After a tooth has been extracted, there will be a resulting hole in your jawbone where the tooth was. In time, this will smooth and fill in with bone. This process can take many weeks or months. However, after 1-2 weeks you should no longer notice any inconvenience.