When it comes to oral health care, one of our most important goals is to promote healthy gums and teeth. This assists in the prevention of needing an extraction (tooth removal). There are some instances, however, when there is no other option but to remove a tooth. Infection, trauma, or decay can be reasons why a tooth may need to be removed. Another reason is caused by “wisdom teeth”. These are large molars in the back of the mouth that develop between the ages of 17–25, and often need extracted because they do not grow into the mouth properly, causing pain and other complications.
Whatever the reason for the extraction may be, the procedure itself is nothing to be fearful of. Many people think the teeth are set solidly in the jawbone, but they are actually fixed in their own individual bony socket and held together by a network of ligaments. Dr. Muller can usually easily remove the tooth with gentle and careful manipulation and it is generally not an invasive procedure.
The first step in an extraction is to take an x-ray of the tooth and the area around it. This will show Dr. Muller the position of the tooth, as well as the condition of the bone that surrounds the roots. This information will help in the specific planning for your procedure, and inform Dr. Muller if there will be any potential difficulties. Before your procedure begins, you will be given either a local anesthetic or a different type of anesthetic to prevent you from feeling any pain or discomfort. Dr. Muller will then gently remove your tooth, taking caution not to damage the bone surrounding it. Depending on the present condition of your bone, a bone graft may be needed. This is when bone-grafting material is inserted into the tooth socket. This will assist your body in building up new bone to prevent shrinking of the bone that commonly occurs after an extraction.
Gauze pads are usually placed in the extraction site to help control bleeding, and you may even be given a few stitches to close up the gums and aide them with the healing process.
You will feel some tenderness in the extraction site for a few days after your tooth is removed. This is normal, and relief from any discomfort can usually be remedied by taking an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Holding an ice pack on the outside of the cheek will also help alleviate any soreness. The ice pack should be placed on for 5 minutes, then remove it for 5 minutes. Repeat this process as needed for one hour to reduce any chance of swelling in the first 24 hours.
Once the first 24 hours has passed, you will want to rinse your mouth with warm salt water two or three times a day. This will help prevent infection and it is a natural way to cleanse the mouth. Start by eating soft foods, and as your mouth heals and you feel better, more normal foods may be introduced. You should feel back to normal within a short time. If you have any difficulties or concerns, always contact Muller Family Dentistry for assistance with getting you back on the road to recovery.
If the time comes when you should need a tooth removed (extracted), you can feel confident that we will take care of you and provide you with a gentle and positive experience.