You, your dentist, and Dr. Westbrook 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 are 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. Dr. Westbook is very experienced in this area, and uses both powertome and piezosurgery to much more gently remove teeth and preserve bone, which in turn is much more comfortable for the patient.
The loss 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, Dr. Westbrook will discuss alternatives to extractions as well replacement of the extracted tooth.
The Extraction Process
At the time of extraction the doctor will need to numb your tooth, jawbone, and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic. We utilize mild sedation to help relax you during this procedure, so you will need a ride home from family or friend after the procedure.
During the extraction process you will feel some pressure, which again is minimized by the use of powertome and piezosurgery. 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.
Sectioning A Tooth
Some teeth 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, often with the piezosurgery unit, then removes each section one at a time.
Some bleeding may occur. Placing a piece of moist gauze over the empty tooth socket and biting down firmly for 30 minutes can control this.
Blood Clots That 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 3 weeks after the extraction. Instead, you may gently rinse by rotating your head slowly with mouth rinse in your mouth for 30 seconds, then slowly open mouth over a sink, and gently let drop out. You may then wipe your lips gently with a towel. This is to prevent loss of any grafting, blood clot, and to not disturb the wound healing.
- Avoid use of a straw, smoking, or drinking hot liquids.
If swelling occurs, you can place ice on your face for ten minutes and off for 20 minutes. Repeat this cycle as you feel necessary for up to 24 hours. You can take Tylenol or Motrin (but not aspirin!) to also reduce swelling and inflammation
Pain & Medications
If you experience pain, you might use non-prescription pain relief medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
For most extractions, 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 & 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 extraction site.
Beginning 24 hours after the extraction, you can rinse with salt water (one teaspoon salt in a cup of warm water) after meals and before bed.
Dry socket is 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 postoperative extraction instructions will reduce the chances of developing dry socket. Dry sockets manifest themselves as a dull throbbing pain that usually doesn’t appear until three to 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.
Dr. Westbrook will apply a medicated dressing 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.