After our baby teeth fall out, we should be done losing teeth. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Your dentist will try to save a tooth as often as possible, but sometimes the only option is removing it. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds! By following these steps for tooth extraction aftercare, you should have no problems with recovery.
Why Might I Need a Tooth Extraction?
Preserving your natural teeth for as long as possible is typically the goal of your dentist. However, there are a few situations where removing the tooth is the best option, including:
- Preventing infection. When tooth decay reaches the center of the tooth, called the pulp, root canal therapy may help treat the infection. However, if the infection is severe, the tooth may need to be extracted to prevent decay from spreading to other teeth.
- Eliminating overcrowded teeth. If you have too many teeth for the size of your mouth, your dentist may remove one or more of them. This also may be necessary before seeking orthodontic treatment like braces. If there is no room to place an appliance for straightening teeth, then extra teeth may need to be extracted.
- Treating dental trauma after an accident. When an injury, like a car accident, damages a patient’s tooth, the first option is to always try and preserve as much of the tooth as possible. However, in some cases the tooth is too damaged, and extraction is necessary.
- Removing wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth can impact other teeth as well as the gums. To prevent this, your dentist might recommend getting them extracted.
How Does the Tooth Extraction Process Work?
Before the procedure, your dentist will take X-rays of your mouth to understand the exact condition of your tooth and its surrounding bone. The area will be numbed with local anesthesia, and the tooth will be gently extracted. Your dentist will place gauze over the area to minimize bleeding.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Tooth Extraction?
Recovery time will differ based on the location of the tooth and type of extraction, as well as how quickly you heal in general. However, you can usually expect to heal within 7 to 10 days.
What Does the Aftercare Process Look Like?
To make sure the healing process is successful, follow these steps:
- Take any painkillers as your dentist prescribes them.
- Leave the initial gauze pad in place until about four hours after the procedure.
- To cut down on swelling, place an ice bag to the area immediately after the operation. However, don’t do it for more than 10 minutes at a time, as that can actually damage your tissues.
- Rest for a couple of days after the procedure.
- Don’t spit, rinse, or use a straw for at least 24 hours afterwards. Doing these things could dislodge the blood clot while it’s still healing, resulting in a painful condition called dry socket.
- After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution, made of 8 ounces of warm water and half a teaspoon of salt.
- Don’t smoke.
- Brush and floss as normal to prevent infection in your other teeth, but avoid the extraction site.
- Eat soft foods like soup, yogurt, or pudding. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
Recovering from a tooth extraction isn’t exactly the most fun activity in the entire world, but as long as you follow these steps to take care of yourself, you will likely have a fairly quick and easy healing process. No matter why your tooth may need to be extracted, your dentist will make it as easy and painless as possible.
About the Practice
At Celebration Family Dental, all of our patient in the Carrollton, TX area are happy to come see us even before we start treating their teeth! Drs. Rajiv Shekhadiya and Dhiren Ahir like to get to know their patients as people so they can provide the most customized and relaxing dental experience possible. We strive to preserve a patient’s natural teeth for as long as possible, but when tooth extraction is necessary, we offer sedation dentistry for those who might be nervous. To learn more click here or call (469)-892-6647.