Teeth are extracted for different reasons:
- Decay has reached deep into the tooth. If the decay is too extensive, you have no choice but to extract the tooth.
- Infection has destroyed a large portion of the tooth or surrounding bone, including advanced gum diseases.
- There is not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth
- An Orthodontist might request extractions due to overcrowding.
- Tipped or partially erupted 3rd molars
- Fractured tooth below the gum tissue & bone level
After the extraction, some bleeding may occur. Bite down firmly on a piece of moist gauze over the empty tooth socket until the bleeding stops.
Blood clots form inside and around the open socket.
If persistant bleeding occurs, you can bite down on a moist Lipton tea bag. Bite down firmly.
Formation of a blood clot is an important part of the healing process. You must be careful not to dislodge the clot.
Do Not Spit or Suck through a Straw
- Avoid smoking, using a straw, or drinking hot liquids.
- Avoid spitting for 24 hours after the extraction. When spitting, you create suction in your mouth which can then dislodge your blood clot.
Swelling & Stiffness
If swelling &/or stiffness occurs, this is normal and should not cause alarm. Place a cold towel or an ice bag to your face for the first 6-8 hours. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then off for 15 minutes. Repeat this cycle as you feel necessary.
Pain and Medications
If you develop pain, you may use non-prescription pain relief medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
If you have pain that cannot be resolved with over-the-counter medication, call Dr. Lai's office.
For most extractions, eat normal regular meals as soon as you are able after surgery. Cold, soft foods such as ice cream or yogurt may be the most comfortable for the 1st day. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids.
Do Not Disturb the Wound
Doing so may invite irritation, infection &/or bleeding. Please chew on the opposite side of the extraction site during the first 24 hours and keep anything sharp from entering the wound (i.e. eating utensils, etc.)
Do Not Smoke or Drink Alcohol for 48 hours
Smoking & Alcohol will promote bleeding and interfere with healing
Brushing & Flossing
Do not brush your teeth for the first 8 hours after surgery. The next day, you can resume gentle cleaning of the whole mouth, but avoid the area of surgery.
- Avoid commercial mouth rinses for 24 hours after extraction as they tend to irritate the site.
- After 24 hours, you may do warm Salt Water Rinses: add one half teaspoon of salt to an 8 oz glass of warm water. Swish & gently spit.
- Mild antiseptic rinses after 24 hours only if prescribed. Repeat this several times daily.
A dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form in the socket where the tooth has been extracted or when a blood clot has been dislodged. This results in the nerves in the socket becoming exposed.
Following the above instructions will reduce the chances of developing a dry socket. Dry sockets manifest themselves as a dull throbbing pain. The pain can be moderate to severe and radiate from the extraction area. A dry socket may cause bad breath or create a bad taste in your mouth. The extraction site may also appear dry or look like a hole in your mouth.
If severe pain occurs, call the office so Dr. Lai can diagnose for a dry socket & place a medicated dressing to soothe the pain.
After a tooth has been extracted there will be an empty space where the tooth was located. Over the course of a 4 week time period, your gums will come together smoothly and the socket space will fill in with bone.
Remember: Keep fingers & tongue away from socket.