You and Dr. Detmer or Dr. Cara may determine that you 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, in most cases, Drs. Detmer or Cara will discuss alternatives to extractions if possible as well as replacement of the extracted tooth.
Dr. Cara Detmer performs select tooth extractions at the office, but some extractions may be referred to an Oral Surgeon. What makes an extraction more difficult depends on bone density, if it is anatomically close to another structure such as the sinus, if the tooth is severely broken down, or if you prefer to be sedated for the procedure due to anxiety.
The Extraction Process
At the time of extraction the doctor will need to numb your tooth, jaw bone and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic.
During the extraction process you will feel a lot of pressure. This is from the process of firmly loosening the tooth from the socket.
You feel the pressure without pain as the anesthetic has numbed the nerves stopping the transference of pain, yet the nerves that transmit pressure are not profoundly affected.
If you do feel pain at any time during the extraction please let us know right away. Our top priority is that you are as comfortable as possible during the entire procedure.
Sectioning a Tooth
Some teeth that have 2 or 3 roots may require sectioning. This is a very common procedure done when a tooth is so firmly anchored in its socket or the root is curved and the socket can’t expand enough to remove it. The doctor simply cuts the tooth into sections then removes each section one at a time.
After Tooth Extraction
After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. We will place a piece of gauze to have you bite down on for 30-45 minutes immediately after the appointment in order to help form the clot. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood- Pressure is the key to help stop bleeding.
After the blood clot forms, it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot. Do not rinse vigorously, drink through straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
Use over the counter pain medication as directed. Call our office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing by keeping bacterial levels down and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office or the after hours number on the post-op instruction sheet immediately.