Dental problems like crowding, decay, and infection of the teeth are all issues that may require an extraction. For example, someone getting braces may need to have a tooth or two removed to make space for crowded teeth that need to shift into place. Individuals with painful impacted wisdom teeth are also common candidates for extraction. At our Castle Rock, Colorado office, we perform tooth extractions on an outpatient basis using an appropriate form of anesthesia depending on the type of extraction performed. Extracting visible teeth is a simple procedure; however, cases where a tooth is broken, impacted, or below the gum surface are more complicated and involved.
Preparing for Your Tooth Extraction
Before scheduling your extraction procedure, we will X-ray your tooth. At this appointment, we need you to provide the following important information:
- Any medications – prescription, over-the-counter, or nutritional supplements – that you are currently taking. We need to make sure that nothing you are taking will interfere with the anesthesia used or any other aspect of the extraction procedure or healing process.
- If you will be undergoing treatment for any other medical condition that involves an IV drug known as a bisphosphonate. If you are, the extraction must be performed prior to the administration of the bisphosphonate to prevent problems with the jawbone.
For patients who will receive IV anesthesia:
- Wear a loose-fitting or short-sleeved shirt on the day of your extraction so that the IV can be easily and comfortably placed.
- Avoid eating and drinking for eight hours prior to your extraction appointment.
For all patients:
- Do not smoke before your extraction.
- Inform us if you have a cold or the flu.
- Tell us if you experienced nausea the night before your appointment.
If you are undergoing a simple extraction, we will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area completely. You will only feel pressure during the procedure, not pain. We will use a special instrument to loosen your tooth and remove it gently with forceps.
For a surgical extraction, you will likely receive local and IV anesthesia. We may also administer general anesthesia so that you remain unconscious while your tooth is being extracted. The procedure involves making a small incision into the gum. In some cases, some bone around the tooth may need to be removed before extraction.
Recovery and Aftercare
Most patients recover completely within a few days of their tooth extraction. Once your extraction is complete and a gauze pad is placed over the site, we ask that you squeeze down gently to minimize bleeding and to assist with clot formation. The gauze should be kept in place for about four hours. You should relax and rest during the first 24 hours after your tooth extraction. Some patients find that a cold compress applied to the cheek is helpful to minimize swelling in the area.
It is very important that you avoid drinking through a straw and smoking. A key part of your aftercare is the maintenance of the blood clot that will form in the socket that is exposed by the extraction. This blood clot needs to remain in place for proper healing and to prevent complications like a dry socket. Sucking through a straw or smoking can dislodge the clot.
Every tooth extraction is different. Recovery varies based upon which tooth was extracted, how deep the tooth roots are, and other factors. Patients typically experience a noticeable decrease in pain in about three days.
If you are facing tooth extraction, call us to set up an appointment so that we can examine your tooth and get you on the path to healing and optimal dental health.