If you have a bad toothache or a tooth that has become cracked, you may need to have it removed. The process of tooth extraction can be a scary proposition if you have never had the experience. In fact, it is a fairly routine dental procedure, but it does come with some risks.
Whether you are having a tooth extracted in Phoenix or Pittsburg, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist about what you can expect. There will be specific care instructions that are crucial to follow after your procedure. If you don’t take the proper care, you could end up dealing with complications like swelling, or infection.
According to Dr. Khaydatov, a seasoned dentist who does hundreds of tooth extraction in Phoenix, most procedures go smoothly if you follow the instructions that you are given. Let’s take a closer look at the extraction procedure, the possible complications, and how to avoid them.
Tooth Extraction Procedure
In cases where your damaged or infected tooth cannot be repaired, your dentist may recommend that you undergo an extraction procedure. Your extraction can be done in one visit and will not take too much time. However, your follow-up care will still be crucial to your smooth recovery.
Before starting the procedure, it is crucial that all medical equipment is properly sterilized in order to prevent the spread of infection. This is why it is important that clinics have a reliable sterilizer repair service to ensure that the sterilization process runs smoothly.
Your dentist will apply a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth that is being pulled. They will then use the dental forceps to grab hold of the tooth. With a gentle rocking motion, the dentist will loosen the tooth in its socket to separate the root from your jaw. Depending on the root system of your tooth, various levels of pressure may be applied to remove the tooth.
If your tooth is broken or missing above the gums, your dentist may have to surgically extract the remainder of your tooth. This will involve the cutting of the gums to be able to grab hold of the remaining tooth for removal.
After the tooth is extracted, the socket will fill with blood that will clot. This is a normal and essential part of your tooth extraction. The blood that is left to clot will protect your jaw and nerve endings and help your gums to heal.
Tooth Extraction Complications
With any medical procedure, there is the potential for complications. When you have a tooth removed, there are possible complications during and after the procedure.
During the Procedure
- The fracture of a tooth is the most common complication during an extraction. A fracture is more likely if your tooth has already had some work like a root canal or a filling that can make it more brittle. If a tooth breaks during extraction, your dentist may have to surgically remove it by cutting the gums and dividing the tooth into separate pieces for removal.
Maxillary Sinus Exposure
- Your sinus cavity is located directly above your upper molars and the thin membrane between your palette and the sinus can be ruptured during a tooth extraction procedure.
Injury to Other Teeth
- During a tooth extraction, there is the potential for your neighboring teeth to sustain damage. If extensive force is required to remove a tooth, it could loosen the surrounding teeth. These teeth will often heal on their own without complication.
- Sustaining nerve damage during tooth extraction is very rare. It most often occurs during a wisdom tooth extraction and can result in temporary numbness of the gums and jaw.
- When excessive force is applied during tooth extraction, there have been rare cases when the jaw has sustained a fracture.
- During a tooth extraction, it is possible that the tooth could become loose from the forceps and be swallowed by the patient. While this is worrisome for some patients, a swallowed tooth will cause no harm.
After the Extraction
- It’s normal to have some minor pain and aching following a tooth extraction. Your pain can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, if you experience extreme pain after your tooth extraction you should contact your dentist as this may be an indication of another problem including infection.
- Mild swelling following a tooth extraction is normal. You can help to minimize swelling by placing an ice pack on the side of your face.
- The socket in which your tooth was removed is likely to have some bleeding. If your bleeding does not subside or the area hasn’t formed a clot within 24 hours you should see your dentist.
- The blood clot that forms after your tooth extraction is there to protect your exposed jaw and sensitive nerve endings. If you don’t follow the after-care instructions carefully, you could lose the clot and expose your nerves which can be extremely painful.
- In rare cases, your socket may become infected causing pain, swelling, and accumulated puss. You should see your doctor or dentist to get some antibiotics.
After-Care for an Extracted Tooth
When you have had a tooth removed it is especially important to follow the care instructions that you receive from your dentist. Your mouth is an environment that is always moist and can be partial to bacteria from foods making an open wound vulnerable to infection. Let’s take a closer look at a few after-care tips for an extracted tooth.
- After your procedure, your dentist will insert a gauze padding into the empty socket. To help control the bleeding, bite down firmly on the packed gauze to encourage blood clot formation. If you don’t have any padding or the bleeding seems to be continuing, you can try biting down on a teabag. The tannic acid contained in the tea bag will help a clot to form and the bleeding to stop. It is normal for your extraction site to experience minor bleeding on the first day. If your bleeding continues without clotting, you should return to your dentist.
- You should expect some pain and soreness after tooth extraction. You should talk to your doctor about what type of pain medication is right for you. In most cases, over-the-counter pain medications and antiinflammatories are enough to lessen the pain. Don’t drive while taking pain medications as they have the potential to make you drowsy. It’s important that you take your medication as it is prescribed.
- The extraction of a tooth, especially if it requires a lot of force can result in some swelling of the gum tissues and face. To keep your swelling to a minimum, you can try putting a cold compress on your cheek at 15-minute intervals. This will help to keep your swelling to a minimum and relieve some of your pain.
- Any type of healing requires the right amount of rest. It’s important that you give yourself enough time to heal properly and get lots of sleep. A large percentage of your healing will be done while you sleep.
- Your dentist will likely give you a list of dietary items that are recommended as you heal from your tooth extraction. Most recovery diets include liquids like soups and broths, soft foods like pudding and yogurt, and soft snacks. You can try protein shakes to help supplement your diet and boost your energy.
- You will still need to brush your teeth regularly while you are healing from your tooth extraction. It’s important to take great care when brushing or flossing and do your best to avoid the extraction site. Do not use toothpaste because the rinsing and swishing required to remove the toothpaste can dislodge your blood clot.
- To help with healing and keep your mouth sanitized, you can try salt and warm water rinse. It’s important to gently rinse your mouth and be careful of your extraction site. Rinse once or twice per day.
- While a large part of your postoperative diet will be liquid, it’s important to avoid using straws. The sucking motion that is required to drink from a straw could result in dislodging your blood clot at the extraction site. If your blood clot is disturbed, it could lead to infection or dry sockets which can be very painful.
- After your tooth removal, you should try to avoid hot drinks like coffee and tea. Hot liquids can increase swelling and cause the blood clot in your socket to dissolve. Iced coffee or tea is a more suitable option.
- There are endless reasons why you should not smoke, and another one is that it could complicate your tooth extraction recovery. The sucking motion of smoking can affect your blood clotting and result in dry sockets.
When to Call Your Dentist
While most tooth extractions go very smoothly, there is the chance that you will experience complications. If you experience any of the following you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Swelling around the tooth extraction site worsens over a few days
- Pain increases after the first 24 hours
- Bleeding is hard to control
If you are in need of a tooth extraction it’s important to discuss the procedure in detail with your dentist. Tooth extraction is a fairly routine procedure but can still have serious complications. Follow the advice of your dentist to ensure that you heal well.