September 7, 2013

Dental Extractions

Despite the different restorative options available, there are some teeth that cannot be saved. Some possible reasons for dental extractions are: teeth that are broken or decayed beyond repair, teeth that are compromised due to severe gum disease, or to make room for orthodontic treatment. We are able to provide most extractions on-site, but certain extractions or very anxious patients may be better off with the services of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Some extractions can require more extensive surgical intervention, such as the removal of accompanying bone and/or the placing of sutures. For extractions prior to receiving a denture, some recontouring of bone is usually necessary.

All surgical procedures carry certain risks which will be discussed prior to your appointment. Generally, healing occurs quickly after an extraction if the site is taken care of. Certain medical conditions and medications can have an important impact on the outcome of an oral surgery procedure and your health should always be discussed prior to your appointment.

After a tooth is removed, different options exist for replacing the missing tooth: partial/complete dentures, bridges, and implants may all be options, depending on the case.

How do you control pain during an extraction?

For many people, numbing with topical and local anesthetics is enough to make an extraction tolerable. We also offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help reduce anxiety and pain during extractions. Nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation is a safe and effective way for adults and children to undergo procedures they would normally be reluctant to undertake; it allows the patient to relax while awake and carries a very small risk of complications[1]. Certain conscious sedation medications may also be an option for very anxious patients. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon with advanced medical training would be able to provide further levels of sedation at a separate office, if necessary.

What do I need to do or avoid after an extraction?

Here are some rules to go by to minimize complications and promote healing:

  • Do relax the day of the surgery, minimizing strenuous activity
  • Do eat soft foods or lukewarm soup following surgery
  • Do drink plenty of water in the days following the surgery
  • Do rinse with warm salt water after a day has passed to help keep the site clean
  • Do use an icepack if necessary to reduce swelling

Here are some things you should avoid in the days after surgery:

  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke for several days following surgery
  • Do not use anything to disturb the extraction site, like a toothbrush or toothpick
  • Do not mix other painkillers with any prescribed pain medication, unless specifically told it is okay to do so

Other things to avoid include drinking through straws, spitting vigorously, or drinking carbonated beverages; these guidelines are more flexible as they aren’t as firmly connected to healing complications.

If you have a tooth that is broken, decayed, or painful, and think you may need an extraction, contact the office today to schedule an appointment: 318-869-2535.