Oral bacteria are present in everyone’s mouth, no matter how well you clean your teeth. This bacterium produces harmful acids that destroy enamel. When allowed to accumulate, these critters form a sticky layer that adheres to teeth. The unremoved plaque will eventually eat a hole in tooth enamel, commonly known as a cavity. If the cavity continues to spread, the bacteria can destroy the tooth structure and travel into the center nerve. When this happens, patients experience increased sensitivity or pain. The decay also causes the tooth to weaken and become more vulnerable to cracks, chips, and breakage. Luckily, an injured tooth can be treated with root canal therapy and a dental crown. But if the severity of the decay is irreparable, extracting the tooth may be the only solution to protect your oral health.
What to Expect During Your Tooth ExtractionTooth extractions are performed all the time. First, it will be determined if an antibiotic is needed pre- or post- tooth removal. Then, the surrounding area will be numbed. The tooth is then extracted without pain. If it is an impacted wisdom tooth, any bone or gum tissue trapping the tooth will be removed first. After the path is cleared, the impacted tooth can be freed with forceps. Your dentist will use a gentle rocking motion to loosen and remove the tooth. Dissolvable stitches may be used to close the surgical site. Sometimes, a bone grafting is needed to maintain healthy bone. This added bone may be necessary if an implant is your chosen tooth replacement option.
What to Do After a Tooth ExtractionYou will be provided with aftercare instructions post-extraction. Typical instruction after tooth removal include:
- Prop up your head and keep it elevated until you are no longer bleeding.
- Put pressure on the treatment area by biting on gauze, until bleeding subsides.
- Apply an ice pack to the cheek on the side of the extraction.
- Avoid physical activities and contact sports until the empty socket is covered with a scab.
- Keep the extraction site clean by gently brushing the area around the socket.
- Don’t tamper with the surgical area.
- Take prescriptions as directed and contact your dentist if you experience unusual itching or swelling.
- Stick with soft foods while the empty socket heals.
- Stay hydrated.