Sometimes due to trauma, extensive decay, or infection your best option may be to have the tooth extracted or removed. If a tooth extraction is required your dentist may discuss tooth replacement options with you such as a bridge, implant or a partial denture. For more complex extractions a referral to an Oral Surgeon may be required. Your dentist will discuss which option is best for you.
Wisdom teeth or third molars are also often recommended for extraction to prevent future dental problems. Most people do not have enough room for third molars to erupt properly into place, and some potential problems they can cause are pain, infection, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. Your dentist will discuss if it is recommended for your third molars to be removed, and if a referral to an Oral Surgeon is required for surgery.
Home Care After Surgery
Begin with clear liquids and advance to soft diet during the first 24 hours (soups, eggs, pastas, Etc.) Avoid milk products until you are taking clear liquids without difficulty. Avoid crunchy foods (peanuts, popcorn, chips) for 2 weeks. Avoid drinking through straws for 2 weeks. Cold foods can help to reduce swelling. A well balanced diet is essential to rapid healing.
Relax and take it easy for the first couple of days. Avoid lifting, bending or stooping. Elevate your head above heart level (this can help to promote drainage, and reduce swelling.)
A certain amount of bleeding is expected following surgery. Leave the gauze in your mouth for 30-60 minutes following surgery. If you have continued bleeding, place 2 folded gauze squares over the socket and bite with moderate pressure. If gauze is not available, a moist tea bag may be placed over the area and gentle pressure applied. Avoid falling asleep with gauze in place, because gauze can act like a wick on a candle and continue to draw blood out of the extraction socket. Blood tinged saliva is expected for 36 hours.
If swelling occurs, it is usually the result of the surgical procedure, and not from infection. It should reach its peak in 2-3 days and decrease over time. lf you have no swelling for 2-3 days and then begin to swell, or if your swelling is present for 5-6 days following surgery, this may represent the development of an infection, and you should contact the clinic. To minimize swelling apply ice packs for the first 24 hours only, 30 minutes on, and 30 minutes off. You may alternate sides if indicated. The best way to prevent infection is to keep your mouth clean. This should be done by brushing your teeth in your usual manner after each time that you eat (avoiding the surgical site.)
Things that may occur
Sore teeth, earache, and/or sore throat, bruising to outside of face, tightness of the jaw muscles, and dry/cracked lips. There will be an opening where the tooth was removed. This will fill In with new tissue. Do not disturb the blood clot; it's grayish or yellow appearance and slight odor does not indicate an infection. Keep your tongue away from the surgical site. Expect moderate discomfort, some swelling, and some minor oozing of blood following surgery. lf pain gets worse after 2-3 days contact the clinic (this may be an easy problem to fix if you let us know.)
Due to local anesthetic, you can expect the lower jaw (lip, teeth, gums, and chin) to be numb for 6-12 hours, and the upper jaw to be numb for 1-4 hours, following surgery.
If stitches are placed they will fall out on their own in 5-10 days, unless the doctor re-appoints you to have them removed.
Avoid rinsing for the first 6 hours following surgery. After 6 hours you may gently rinse with warm water. Avoid vigorous rinsing, sucking on the wound, and frequent spitting (this is to avoid disturbing the blood clot that has formed.)
If medication have been prescribed, take them as directed on the label for the specified amount of time. Most medications are best taken with food in the stomach, unless specifically told not to do so, on the label instructions. Pain medications especially should not be taken on an empty stomach. You should not drink alcohol, drive a motor vehicle or work around any machinery when taking pain medications.
Keep dentures in for the first day and night. Expect some bleeding around the denture to occur.