Tooth Extractions

Teeth may need to be extracted (removed or taken out) for a number of different reasons.  They may be very badly decayed, badly broken, or have severe periodontal disease.  They may also simply be in a place in your mouth that is difficult to clean properly, which is often the case for wisdom teeth (3rd molars). 

Wisdom teeth are for the most part useless teeth that will almost always end up causing problems, including cavities and bone loss, and it is a mere result of the fact that they are so far back in the mouth and often in an unfavorable position that cleaning them properly is virtually impossible.  Sometimes there is simply not enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth, so when they start to push their way through they can cause movement and crowding of other valuable teeth.  This is another reason to have your wisdom teeth evaluated for extraction.

Things to keep in mind after you’ve had teeth extracted:

  • Stick with a soft food diet for the first couple of days after your tooth is removed.  Also make sure to avoid eating any food that can be broken into small pieces and potentially get stuck in the extraction site.  Avoid foods like chips, nuts, popcorn, and even rice.  Also avoid any hot beverages.  In general, try to chew your food using the side of your mouth opposite the extraction site.
  • Some bleeding is normal, so if you notice some don’t be alarmed.  Even a little blood on your pillow after you have gone to sleep that evening is ok.
  • Don’t rinse or spit for at least 24 hours after you have had teeth removed.  This can dislodge the valuable blood clot that is important for proper healing.  Don’t drink anything through a straw for at least 24 hours for the same reason.
  • Swelling and bruising may also result around the extraction site, either inside the mouth or even on your face. Don’t be alarmed.  This is also often part of the natural healing process.  If you notice swelling, alternate warm and cold compresses, 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off, to increase blood flow to the area to aid in healing.
  • Keep in mind things like drinking alcohol and smoking are going to dramatically slow down the healing process.  Smoking in particular can also lead to a very painful condition called dry socket, so it’s best to avoid these activities at all costs, especially during the critical first 2-3 days of healing.
  • It is very important to keep the area clean, just as any other part of your mouth.  Initially, however, you will have to be very gentle.  A lot of warm salt water rinses as many times a day as you can over the first 1-2 days is very helpful to expedite healing as well as to keep the area clean.  Brush and floss the rest of your mouth as you normally would, but use caution and be extremely gentle when brushing the extraction site.  Also, avoid using regular mouthwashes for the first week or so.  Just stick with the warm salt water and that will go a long way.

You should feel back to normal within a week or so after your tooth is taken out.  However, if you need pain medication in the meantime, over the counter Ibuprophen is great for tooth pain.  If you feel like you need something stronger, let us know and we will gladly prescribe you something to help manage your discomfort.

Keep in mind…if you have any questions at all or you’re just wondering if something is normal or not, give us a call…anytime.  We are here for you.

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