Our philosophy is to preserve tooth structure and save natural teeth whenever possible. However, there are instances when teeth cannot be salvaged and should be extracted (removed).
When would I need an extraction?
An extraction may be indicated is a tooth has lost significant bone and become loose, gotten infected, or become decayed/damaged to the point that it is unable to support a crown, filling, or restoration. In addition, third molars (wisdom teeth) are commonly extracted since they can cause pain and infections, crowd other teeth, damage nearby teeth, get stuck beneath the gums or bone (impacted) and make oral hygiene difficult.
What can I expect during an extraction procedure?
During an extraction, your tooth and gum will be anesthetized for your comfort. Once the area is completely numb, the tooth will be loosened with specialized instruments (elevators) and removed with pliers (forceps). Throughout the procedure, you may feel slight pressure, but should not feel any pain. After the tooth is removed and the area is cleaned, a bone graft may be added to preserve bone volume and minimize bone loss. In doing so, it allows for a more stable and esthetic tooth replacement whether in the form of a dental implant, bridge or removable denture. Stitches may be added to close the area and allow for healing. A folded gauze will be placed over the site and you will be asked to bite down for approximately one hour. This creates firm pressure which will form a blood clot and ultimately stop the bleeding. You will also leave with an ice pack to place against your face to minimize any swelling. We will schedule a one week follow-up appointment to evaluate the area for proper healing.
How do I care for the area?
There are several things you can do to care for the area, minimize discomfort and expedite recovery:
- Bite firmly on the gauze pad for approximately one hour and change out gauze pads as needed
- Take any pain medication as prescribed to reduce discomfort
- Relax and avoid strenuous activities for at least 24 hours
- Avoid rinsing, drinking from a straw, and forcefully spitting for at least 24 hours. These activities can disrupt the blood clot.
- Avoid smoking since this can interfere with the healing process.
- Eat soft foods such as soup, noodles, and yogurt the day after the extraction. Solid foods can be incorporated gradually to allow maximal healing.
- After 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth daily with warm salt water to aid in healing.
- Take care to avoid the extraction site when brushing and flossing.
What are my options to replace a tooth that has been extracted?
Depending on your situation, there are several options to replace missing teeth. These include dental implants, bridges, and fixed/removable dentures. Our goal is to always produce esthetic yet functional results and we will work together to find the tooth replacement option that best suits you.