Getting a tooth pulled is generally never on anyone’s Bucket List. But should an abscess, injury or decay make an extraction necessary, there are few things to keep in mind that can make the process a minor bother rather than a painful ordeal.
At Just Wright Dental, we understand that extractions can seem scary to some patients and certainly not fun for any. That’s why our highly-trained team provides a thorough examination to determine the cause of the problem and provide patients with all of the options available to them, as well as the best course of action. Because each individual is different, our team carefully explains each patient’s treatment needs and also how to care for their gums after an extraction. And while every patient is different, there are a few things that hold true for all extractions.
- Sedation Options. While many patients opt to utilize local anesthetic only for simple extractions, we offer a variety of sedation options for patients whose procedure may be a bit more involved or for those who appreciate the comfort of sleeping through their extraction and waking up with no memory of it ever happening. In addition to laughing gas, we also offer oral sedation and monitored IV sedation options in our office.
- Antibiotics. These are not needed for every extraction. While some patients will be prescribed a course of antibiotics following an extraction, that is determined on a case-by-case basis in our office. Even abscessed teeth requiring extraction doesn’t automatically mean an antibiotic is needed. In many cases, the tooth is the cause of the infection and once the tooth is removed the infection goes away, without any drugs.
- Pain and Swelling. Everyone’s pain tolerance is different. That said, most patients who come to see us for a single extraction report not needing anything for pain – not even an over-the-counter pain reliever. Patients who undergo more difficult extractions, such as wisdom teeth for instance, may find the use of cold compresses and a pain reliever help with discomfort and mild swelling.
- Bone Spurs. Because teeth are anchored into the jaw bone, when the tooth root is removed, tiny pieces of the bone can splinter off. Think of pulling a screw out of a board – same idea. Sometimes, these tiny bone fragments or spurs will start working their way through the gums, like a splinter would if you got one in your finger. Occasionally, patients will call concerned that “a piece of the tooth” didn’t get extracted, but in all reality, it’s just a bone spur. These are harmless and will eventually work themselves out with some gentle brushing, but we also encourage patients to in and have them removed as they can also be uncomfortable.
- Post-Op Care. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water, especially after eating and drinking to keep the extraction site clean and free from food and debris is one of the best things patients can do to make sure they heal well after and extraction. Avoiding carbonated beverages, smoking, drinking through straws will lessen the likelihood of developing a painful dry socket, particularly after having wisdom teeth removed. We also recommend avoiding hot, spicy and crunchy foods and sticking to soft foods for a couple of days. Bleeding after an extraction, typically stops after a few hours, but patients who take blood thinning medications, may bleed longer. There is usually no cause for concern and in instances where bleeding seems heavy, we often recommend that a patient bite down on a cool, wet tea bag, as the tannins in the tea help with clotting.
- Follow-up Visit. About two weeks after an extraction, we like our patients to return to our office for a quick check-up to make sure everything is healing properly and there are no concerns. Even if everything feels fine, its best to stop in for the 10-minute appointment to double-check to help avoid any unforeseen problems.