IF A TOOTH HAS BEEN BROKEN OR DAMAGED.
But when there's too much damage for the tooth to be repaired, the tooth may need to be extracted.
A surgical extraction involves teeth that cannot be seen easily in the mouth. They may have broken off at the gum line or they may not have come in yet. To see and remove the tooth, the dentist or oral surgeon must cut and pull back the gums. Pulling back the gum "flap" provides access to remove bone and/or a piece of the tooth. Because surgical extractions are more complicated, they generally cause more pain after the procedure. The level of discomfort and how long it lasts will depend on the difficulty of the extraction. We may prescribe pain medication for a few days. Most pain disappears after a couple of days.
A cut in the mouth tends to bleed more than a cut on the skin because it cannot dry out and form a scab. After an extraction, you will be asked to bite on a piece of gauze for about 20 to 30 minutes. This will put pressure on the area and allow the blood to clot. It still may bleed a small amount for the next 24 hours and taper off after that. Do not disturb the clot that forms on the wound.
You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling after the operation. If your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling goes away, try a warm compress. Eat soft and cool foods for a few days. Then try other foods as you feel comfortable. A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can also help to keep the area clean. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in one cup of water. Initial healing takes at least two weeks.
If you need stitches, they usually disappear (dissolve) on their own. They should disappear within one to two weeks. Rinsing with warm salt water will help the stitches dissolve. Some stitches need to be removed by either our office or that of an oral surgeon.
You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was. That causes more bleeding and can lead to a dry socket, which occurs in about 3% to 4% of all extractions. Dry socket occurs 20% to 30% of the time when impacted teeth are removed. It happens more often in smokers and women who take birth control pills. It is also more likely after difficult extractions.