Dr. Cristoforo and Dr. Carmosino are committed to saving teeth whenever possible. However, in some cases, teeth need to be extracted. Tooth extractions are a common procedure but the idea of having a tooth removed can be daunting for many patients. Understanding the process and knowing what to expect can help alleviate any concerns you may have.
Reasons for Tooth Extractions
There are several reasons why you may need a tooth extraction but the two most common situations we run into as a periodontist are:
- Severe tooth decay or infection: If a tooth is severely decayed or infected and cannot be saved through root canal therapy or other treatments, an extraction may be necessary to prevent the spread of infection.
- Gum disease: Advanced gum disease can lead to loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. In some cases, me may need to extract a tooth to protect your overall oral health.
What to Expect During the Tooth Extraction Procedure
Tooth extractions today are typically very routine and can be done comfortably and pain-free throughout the process. We start the procedure by applying local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth. Depending on the complexity of the extraction, it may be necessary to make a small incision in your gum or even remove some bone around the tooth. We will determine the course of your tooth extraction after taking digital x-rays.
Once the tooth is removed, we will apply gauze to the area to control bleeding and may place a few stitches to help with healing. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour.
Post-Extraction Care and Recovery
Proper aftercare is essential to ensure a smooth recovery after a tooth extraction. Here are some tips to follow:
- Take it easy: Rest for the first 24 hours and avoid any strenuous activities that could dislodge the blood clot forming in the extraction site.
- Manage pain and swelling: Use over-the-counter pain relievers as directed, and apply a cold pack to the outside of your cheek to minimize swelling. In some situations, we may prescribe pain medication.
- Keep the area clean: Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to keep the extraction site clean.
- Eat soft foods: Stick to a diet of soft foods like yogurt, pudding, and applesauce for the first few days, gradually introducing more solid foods as you feel comfortable.
- Follow special instructions: We may provide you with specific instructions for aftercare, so be sure to follow them closely to promote a speedy recovery.
What’s Next After A Tooth Extraction?
After tooth removal, think about its replacement. A missing tooth not only can create an unsightly gap, the empty space allows other teeth to ‘drift’ changing your bite. Additionally, the bone that used to surround the tooth root can shrink and weaken. We highly recommend protecting and rebuilding your smile by replacing the recently extracted tooth with a dental implant. Dental implants completely replace the entire tooth including the tooth root and crown making it the perfect and permanent tooth replacement option that looks great and functions like a normal healthy tooth.
Tooth extractions are a common procedure but the idea of having a tooth removed can be daunting for many patients. Understanding the process and knowing what to expect can help alleviate any concerns you may have.