One of the most common procedures done in our office is tooth extraction. The removal of teeth can be necessary for a number of reasons, including:
- Joint problems in your jaw
- Shifting teeth
- Too much damage to tooth to be repaired
- Baby teeth that don’t fall out
- 3rd molars (Wisdom Teeth) impacted (wedged between the jaw and another tooth or teeth)
- May be needed to create room for other teeth (such as when you’re getting braces)
Prior to Surgery
In preparation for surgery, we will obtain a full medical and dental history, as well as a list of all medications you take. This includes any vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter drugs, as well as any medications you are allergic to.
An x-ray is then taken to assess the best way to remove the affected tooth.
You may be required to take antibiotics before or after surgery, depending on the duration of the surgery, or if you have a specific medical condition. We will discuss this with you if necessary.
Day of Surgery
At the time of surgery, your oral surgeon will numb the area around the tooth or teeth to be extracted with a local anesthetic, specifically numbing the affected tooth or teeth, your jawbone and the surrounding gums.
During the simple extraction process it is common to feel a lot of pressure. The affected tooth is firmly rocked back and forth so as to loosen it for removal. You should not feel any pain, just pressure. If, for any reason, you feel pain, please notify your oral surgeon immediately so that they can administer more numbing agent.
A surgical extraction is a slightly more complex procedure that occurs when a tooth has not yet broken through the gum line, or has not yet fully grown into the mouth. When a surgical extraction is needed, your oral surgeon makes a small incision into your gum in order to access the affected tooth. From here, the procedure is similar to a simple extraction. Your oral surgeon may stitch the incision site if necessary.
After Oral Surgery
After the extraction you will be asked to bite down on a piece of gauze for 20-30 minutes. This pressure helps to form a blood clot in the extraction site, a crucial part of the healing process. Be careful not to dislodge the clot.
It is common to have a small amount of bleeding 24 hours after surgery. We will provide you with detailed instructions after your procedure, but here are some important things to remember:
- Take pain medication as prescribed and recommended by your oral surgeon
- Research has shown that taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil and Motrin (NSAIDs) greatly decrease pain after an extraction
- Using an ice pack on your jaw can reduce swelling. 10 minutes on and 20 minutes off is standard for the first 24 hours. A warm compress can be used if your jaw is sore after the swelling has gone down
- Eat soft and cool foods for the first few days
- Avoid hot foods and alcoholic beverages for the first 24 hours
- Chew food away from the extraction site
- Do not use a straw or spit after surgery. This can cause the blood cut to dislodge, greatly delaying healing
- Avoid brushing the area around the extraction site for the first 24 hours
- Avoid using antiseptic and commercial mouth rinses – they can irritate the extraction site
- 24 hours after surgery you can rinse with warm salt water after each meal and before bedtime (1/2 teaspoon in one cup of warm water)
The extraction site will generally close up in about 2 weeks time, but it can take three to six months for the bone and soft tissue to regrow. Remember, tooth extraction is a common procedure and our caring team has years of experience helping patients through this easy treatment.