Keeping your teeth healthy means you get to keep them longer, hopefully for a lifetime of smiles! But there are times when an adult tooth (or more) may need to be extracted. As periodontists, we work hard to help you keep your permanent teeth in place as long as possible. Our periodontist has advanced training to effectively replace a lost tooth with dental implants for patients who are good candidates for this type of permanent dental restoration when a filling and crown won’t solve the problem.
Why You Might Need a Tooth Pulled
The biggest culprit causing tooth loss has to do with the build-up of periodontal pathogenic bacteria. Without good daily oral hygiene care, your teeth and gums can suffer. We never want to allow periodontal disease to gain a foothold through dental decay when it can be prevented. However, there are unforeseen events such as accidental injury and trauma that can necessitate removing one or more teeth.
Other instances leading to tooth removal may involve preparing your mouth for orthodontia (to eliminate tooth crowding or teeth that haven’t erupted through the gums because there’s no room for them). Or from having a badly damaged tooth through extensive decay and infection that has now invaded the tooth pulp from bacteria, impacting a tooth’s nerves and blood vessels while root canal therapy and antibiotics can’t save it.
Other instances may involve a greater risk of infection because your immune system is weakened. For example, from an organ transplant or chemotherapy. Or perhaps you have advanced periodontal disease. In this situation, your oral tissues and the bone holding the tooth (or teeth) deteriorate, leaving your teeth loose.
Be Prepared for a Tooth Extraction
Our team has the special training necessary to pull a tooth. We will make sure that you are as comfortable as possible with the help of a local anesthetic and injection to make the area numb beforehand. We want to ensure you have a hassle-free, relaxed treatment as much as possible.
If your tooth hasn’t yet erupted through the gums, we may cut the gum and bone tissue over the tooth to reach it and gently remove it so it is free from the bone and ligaments anchoring the tooth. If necessary, we can also remove the tooth in several segments.
After the tooth has been successfully removed, the socket will form a blood clot. You will need to bite down on gauze that has been packed into the socket until the bleeding stops and, if needed, self-dissolving sutures may be placed to help with that.
Should the blood clot loosen and break out of the socket, the bone may end up exposed, in which case we may protect the area further by using a medicinal dressing allowing the new clot to form more easily.
Note: You may be required to take antibiotics before and after your tooth removal if you are at higher risk of infection from bacteria. It may happen if you have damaged or man-made heart valves, a congenital heart defect, an artificial joint (hip), liver disease, or prior bacterial endocarditis.
Expediting Healing and Recovery
Your goal after the surgery is to remain as comfortable as possible, keep your infection risk as low as possible, and expedite healing. Remember to take your prescribed painkillers as needed and leave the gauze pad covering the clot for several hours after your procedure. Placing an ice bag on the outside cheek can help minimize swelling around the area. Be sure to rest for the first 24 hours and resist exertion for one or two days after that.
To ensure good clotting in the socket means not spitting for the first 24 hours, after which you can rinse with salt water to help with healing. Don’t smoke either as that can delay healing, and stick to soft foods and nutritious drinks. Keep your head elevated when you are lying down to encourage any bleeding to subside. While you can still brush your teeth and tongue, please stay clear of the sensitive socket to avoid injury.
We hope this information helps you feel less anxious about getting a tooth pulled. We are here to make the experience as comfortable and successful as possible. Call us today if you have any questions or concerns!