Tooth extraction is one of the most commonly feared dental procedures, as well as one of the most necessary, depending on your teeth’s current condition. Dr. Coffey may determine that an extraction is the only appropriate treatment if you have:
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Severely decayed teeth
- Advanced periodontal disease
- Poorly positioned teeth that cannot be corrected
- Irreparably damaged teeth
- In preparation for orthodontic treatment
Tooth extraction is not a procedure many patients look forward to, since the removal of a single tooth can lead to issues with chewing ability, create problems with your jaw joint, and cause your teeth to shift – which can lead to a negative impact on your dental health.
To avoid these unwanted complications, Dr. Coffey will discuss alternatives to extractions as well as replacement of the extracted teeth, so you can make the best decision for your dental health.
As one of the most respected dentists in Encinitas, CA, Dr. Coffey has successfully performed teeth removal for hundreds of loyal patients throughout his 31 year career. With his gentle hand and extensive expertise, you can be confident in knowing that your teeth removal will be a safe and pain-free experience.
The Extraction Process (Routine Extraction)
At the time of extraction, Dr. Coffey will numb your tooth, jaw bone and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic.
During the extraction process you will feel a lot of pressure, but not pain. This is from the process of firmly rocking the tooth in order to widen the socket for removal. You feel the pressure without pain as the anesthetic has numbed the nerves stopping the transference of pain, yet the nerves that transmit pressure are not profoundly affected.
If you do feel pain at any time during the extraction please let us know right away.
Sectioning a tooth (Surgical Extraction)
For teeth that are firmly anchored in its socket because of a curved root or a tight socket, sectioning may be required. This is a very common procedure in which Dr. Coffey cuts the tooth into sections and then removes each section one at a time. This does not result in any more pain or complications.
After Tooth Extraction
After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Bite down firmly on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes immediately after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood.
After the blood clot forms in your empty tooth socket, it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot. Do not rinse vigorously, spit, suck on straws, drink hot liquids, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours. Once the first day after the extraction has passed, you can rinse with salt water (1/2 teaspoon in 8 ounces of warm water) after meals and before going to bed.
You may take prescription medication as directed, but over the counter analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be just as effective. Call our office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately.
What to do if you have a dry socket
A dry socket is a fairly common complication of tooth extraction characterized by severe pain. It occurs when the tooth socket loses the blood clot that forms after a tooth is extracted and the bone inside the socket becomes exposed. It is one of the most painful dental problems one can experience. A dry socket is also referred to as alveolar osteitis. Dry socket is what happens when a blood clot either doesn’t form in the socket or the clot has been dislodged and the healing process has to start over or is delayed.
Usually, following the post extraction after-care instructions should help the patient avoid getting a dry socket. You can recognize a dry socket manifest from the dull throbbing pain, which radiates from the extraction area 3 or 4 days after the extraction. It can also cause a bad taste or bad breath, which can be annoying and inconvenient.
To help soothe the pain, Dr. Coffey will apply a medicated dressing to the dry socket. However, it’s best to reconsider your eating and drinking habits right after your procedure, so you can avoid repeating the mistakes that caused or encouraged the dry socket in the first place. Gently floss and rinse with warm salt water after every meal, so you can be sure that food isn’t getting stuck and causing infections to your gums.
There will be a hole in your jawbone where your tooth was, which should smooth and fill in with bone in a few weeks or months. However, after 1 or 2 weeks, you should be able to eat and drink normally without noticing much of a difference.
Additional treatments to consider
Once the tooth extraction site heals, one of the biggest concerns to your dental health is the impact a missing tooth can make on the rest of your smile. Because teeth are made to complement each other to spread out the chewing pressure in your mouth, a missing tooth can cause more serious problems than just ruining the look of your smile. Your teeth can become misaligned or crooked, and you may become more susceptible to gum infections. Additional or uneven chewing pressure can also increase your chances of breaking, chipping, and damaging the rest of your teeth. Dr. Coffey will be happy to help you consider additional or alternative dental treatments such as implants or dental bridges, so you can preserve the health and beauty of your smile.
If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation for tooth extractions (x-rays not included) with Encinitas Dentist, Edward B. Coffey, DDS MS – Encinitas Dental Art, please call us at (760) 942-7272. Hablamos Español.