The Whole Tooth About Extractions
Ideally, our teeth should stay intact during our lifetime, but sometimes a tooth or two must be removed. A few common reasons why a tooth extraction is needed involves a tooth that is badly damaged from trauma or decay, a crowded mouth, or even for us to prepare the mouth for orthodontia – the process of properly aligning the teeth. It’s important to understand that we will try to fix the tooth, if at all possible, with a filling, a crown or other method(s).
Contact our office for this or any other possible services
The first thing we’ll do is take an X-ray of the area to help plan the best way to remove the tooth. For this visit, you’ll need to provide your full medical and dental history and a list of all medicines you take. If you are having wisdom teeth removed, you may have a panoramic X-ray.
You may have intravenous (IV) anesthesia, either conscious sedation or general anesthesia. If that’s the case, we will provide instructions such as wearing a short-sleeved shirt for better access for an IV line to be placed in a vein as well as fasting for up to eight hours before the procedure.
After the extraction, someone will need to drive you home. You will be given post-surgery instructions, which are very important that you follow.
There are two types of extractions:
A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. With this sort of extraction, we loosen the tooth with an instrument called an elevator and then we use an instrument called forceps to remove the tooth. A local anesthetic may be used for this.
Now a surgical extraction is a more complex procedure. It’s used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come into the mouth yet. Although these are typically performed by oral surgeons, we can also perform them. A small incision is made into your gum and sometimes it’s necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half to extract it. A local anesthetic and having anesthesia through a vein (intravenous) will be required for this. General anesthesia is used for patients with specific medical or behavioral conditions and young children.
During a tooth extraction, you can expect to feel pressure, but no pain. If you feel any pain or pinching, let us know.
We will give you detailed instructions on what to do and what to expect after your surgery. If you have any questions, make sure to ask us before you leave the office. Although it’s usually mild, you can expect some discomfort after even simple extractions. Research has shown that taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can greatly decrease pain after a tooth extraction. Take the recommended dose, 3 to 4 times a day. Take the first pills before the local anesthesia wears off and continue taking them for 3 days.
Surgical extractions generally cause more pain after the procedure than simple extractions. We may prescribe pain medicine for a few days and then suggest ibuprofen. After an extraction, you’ll be asked to bite on a piece of gauze for 20 to 30 minutes. This pressure will allow the blood to clot. You will still have a small amount of bleeding for the next 24 hours or so but it should subside after that.
You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling but if your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling goes away, try warm compresses. A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can help to keep the area clean.
Call our office in Athens, GA right away if:
- The swelling gets worse instead of better.
- You have fever, chills or redness
- You have trouble swallowing
- You have uncontrolled bleeding in the area
- Your tongue, chin or lip feels numb more than 3 to 4 hours after the procedure
If you have an infection, we may prescribe antibiotics. Don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.
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