We don’t think about how important our teeth are to us until we realize that we’re at risk of losing them. Teeth are so vital to not only our appearance but also to our wellbeing. A healthy smile can help make relationships and encourage a good diet, but once our teeth start to become impaired, pain and discomfort can quickly follow. While we here at ZenTech Dentistry will do everything in our power to save a badly decayed or infected tooth, sometimes an extraction is necessary. When that happens, we work to ensure that our patients as calm and comfortable during this incredibly routine and safe procedure.
What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?
There are many reasons we may have to remove a tooth in our office, but the primary cause is due to advanced tooth decay or infection. Other reasons included having impacted wisdom teeth, having a tooth trapped behind a baby tooth, or if your teeth are crowded and we need to remove a tooth to make way for orthodontic procedures (such as braces).
Before we start with an extraction, we’ll begin by taking X-rays of the tooth in question to fully assess its health and structure as well as the health of the roots and surrounding bone. Once we know what the tooth looks like, we’ll be able to move forward with its removal. We always begin by offering local anesthesia to our patients, but some of you may request or require a stronger sedative such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
There are two types of extraction procedures that we perform at our office: simple extraction and surgical extraction. Simple extraction is exactly what it sounds like. We use a device called an elevator to loosen your tooth; then we remove it with our forceps. If your tooth is broken or impacted, we may have to perform a surgical extraction on it. That includes making a small cut into your gums, then carefully remove your tooth.
Bleeding after your extraction is to be expected, and we will pack the site with gauze. We recommend leaving it in place for at least a half hour to help a blood clot to form. Very rarely, around 4 percent of the time, the clot does not form, and a painful condition called dry socket occurs. If that happens, call us right away, and we can help treat it.
Be very gentle with your mouth over the next 24 hours. Do not rinse vigorously, as that can delay healing. After 24 hours, you can gently swish with salt water up to five times per day. You can also use over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but avoid aspirin, as it can make bleeding worse. Avoid using a drinking straw after your extraction, and do not smoke or use tobacco products, either. Stick with soft foods, and if you have any discomfort, you can gently press a hot or cold compress against your cheek.
While nobody likes to lose a tooth, we make sure our patients are comfortable when we perform an extraction. After your extraction, we may advise a dental implant, a bridge, or even a partial denture to prevent further shifting and tooth loss. If you are interested in learning more about dental extractions, or if it has been longer than six months since your last appointment with us, please give us a call here today at ZenTech Dentistry at (503) 765-9699 for more information or to schedule your next exam and cleaning.