Tooth Extractions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Answers to Common Questions About Tooth Extractions
When Do We Recommend Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction in adults is at times inevitable especially if you have any of the following dental problems:
- Overcrowding can occur when the upper and lower jaw overlap or when you don’t have enough space in your mouth. At times, tooth extraction is recommended in preparation for orthodontia– a procedure done to align the teeth.
- Dental decay can affect the pulp and teeth creating the need for an extraction. When the teeth are severely damaged, we can extract the teeth to save the dental structure.
- Broken teeth can also require extraction if the structure, roots, and nerves beneath the teeth are severely damaged.
- Periodontal diseases can cause teeth to weaken or loosen making tooth extraction procedures necessary.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
The extraction process is different depending on the severity of the dental problem. The procedure can either be simple or surgical. Simple extractions are straightforward and easily performed. The surgeon will numb the gum with local anesthesia and using special pliers the teeth will be pulled. The surgeon will then sanitize and stitch the gums to facilitate healing. These stitches disintegrate over time and don’t need another dental procedure. Surgical extractions are more complicated procedures.
How Long Will the Gum Take to Heal?
Though the healing time will depend on the type of surgery and the location of the teeth, you should expect to recover in seven to 14 days. The recovery time at times can take longer as the bone grows in the gum.
What Can You Expect After the Procedure?
A blood clot will form in the extracted gum. The blood clot helps with healing and it is important to protect it. If the blood clot dislodges or breaks, it can expose the gum causing dry socket. Not only will it affect the healing process, but the socket can also cause bad breath and pain.
It is normal to feel slight discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. Furthermore, you will have swelling and residual bleeding 24 hours after the extraction.
What Can You Do to Promote Gum Healing Speed Up the Healing Time?
Aftercare will affect your healing time, so follow the surgeon’s instructions. Here are a few tips:
- Take pain relievers
- Use ice packs to reduce swelling
- Use saline water to rinse
- Don’t use a straw to avoid breaking the blood clot
- Elevate the head to stop bleeding
- Eat foods that require less chewing
- Brush and floss your teeth as you normally do, but avoid the site
- Limit activity for 48 to 72 hours
How Much Pain and Discomfort Should Be Expected?
Once the local anesthetic wears off in your mouth, you might have some slight discomfort around the extraction site. Most of the time, the doctor will instruct you to take over-the-counter pain relievers for pain, or they will prescribe you pain medication, if needed. Take the medications as instructed and let the dentist know if you start to experience any extensive discomfort.
Areas of where larger teeth are, may take a little longer to heal due to a larger extraction site. Sometimes the doctor will place sutures to close the tissue around the site. As long as there is proper hygiene and follow up care the tissue should heal up properly.
How Long Will the Extraction Site Bleed?
Generally, the most bleeding will occur immediately after the extraction, which is why the dentist will place gauze over area for you to bite down on to apply pressure and help stop the bleeding. The heaviest bleeding subsides quickly. In some cases, the extraction site may ooze a little on and off for 12 to 24 hours after the extraction. This is completely normal and no cause for alarm.
How Long Will It Take for Gums to Return to Normal?
The healing time can vary depending on which tooth was pulled and the size or condition of it. For example, a small tooth in the front has a smaller root system than one of your molars does. Nutrition also plays an important role in the healing process. Keeping your mouth clean from food debris around the extraction site is very important as well as not smoking. Smoking can cause complications after surgery as well as affecting the tissue health and bone structure. The initial healing period generally lasts about one to two weeks which the tissue will start to close up and heal over the site.
It does take longer, however, for your gums and bone to fully return to normal. By the third or fourth week after the extraction, the socket site should be mostly healed. You may see or feel a slight indentation still, but the site should be less tender.