Tooth Extraction – Facts for Comfort
Tooth extraction is usually relatively straightforward, and the vast majority can be usually performed quickly while the individual is awake by using local anesthetic injections to eliminate painful sensations. Local anesthetic blocks pain, but mechanical forces are still vaguely felt. If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, your dentist will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other dental treatment. But when there’s too much damage for the tooth to be repaired, the tooth may need to be extracted — or removed — from its socket in the bone.
Why tooth extraction?
Tooth extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, but most commonly to remove teeth which have become non-restorable through tooth decay, periodontal disease or dental trauma especially when they are associated with toothache. If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, your dentist will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other treatment. Sometimes, though, there’s too much damage for the tooth to be repaired. In this case, the tooth needs to be extracted. A very loose tooth also will require extraction if it can’t be saved, even with bone replacement surgery (bone graft).
Surgical vs Simple Extraction
Extractions are often categorized as “simple” or “surgical”.
- Simple extractions– A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. General dentists commonly do simple extractions. In a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses an instrument called a forceps to remove the tooth. Typically when teeth are removed with forceps, slow & steady pressure is applied with controlled force.
- Surgical extractions– A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure. It is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come into the mouth yet. Surgical extractions commonly are done by oral surgeons. However, they are also done by general dentists. The doctor makes a small incision (cut) into your gum. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half in order to extract it.
Post extraction Comfort and Care
It is always important to closely follow your dentist’s after-care instructions to speed recovery.
- Eat soft and cool foods for a few days. Then try other food as you feel comfortable.
- A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can help to keep the area clean. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Most swelling and bleeding end within a day or two after the surgery. Initial healing takes at least two weeks.
- If you need stitches, your doctor may use the right kind which will not dissolve. This usually takes one to two weeks. Rinsing with warm salt water will help the stitches to dissolve. Some stitches need to be removed by the dentist or surgeon.
- You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was. Do not smoke on the day of surgery.
It is always important to call your dentist for excessive bleeding or Pain for effective treatment.