A tooth dies. This might happen for various reasons: the tooth may be diseased, possibly from decay, or because a nerve died. When decay (which is full of bacteria) gets near to the ‘nerve’ (pulp), and is not treated in time, the nerve will die off. The inflammation in the healthy pulp chokes of the blood supply.
Tooth trauma might come through sports injuries, a fall that causes the teeth to strike a hard object or having a struck by a hard object. If the impact severs the blood supply at the tip of the root, the pulp dies.
Other reasons for tooth removal include an overcrowded mouth. Sometimes dentists pull teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontia, which would make it possible to properly align the teeth. In the case of the third set of molars, called wisdom teeth, an impacted tooth cannot break through the gum because there is not room in the mouth for it, your dentist may recommend pulling it.
Clearly, having a tooth pulled in adulthood is sometimes necessary.
What to Expect when You Get a Tooth Pulled
If you needed to get a tooth removed you would look for a dentist or an oral surgeon. Before having an individual tooth removed you will most likely receive an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. When the dentist is pulling multiple teeth, or if a tooth is impacted, you may get a strong general anesthetic. This will prevent pain throughout your body while you sleep through the procedure.
With an impacted tooth the dentist cuts away gum and bone tissue covering the tooth and then, using forceps, grasps the tooth with forceps while gently rocking it back and forth to loosen it from the jaw bone and ligaments that hold it in place. In some cases, a hard-to-pull tooth must be removed in pieces.
With a tooth removed, a blood clot usually develops in the socket. Following the removal,, the dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket and have you bite down on it to help stop the bleeding. Often the dentist will place a few self-dissolving stitches to close the gum edges over the hole left by the tooth.
However, if the blood clot in the socket breaks loose it exposes the bone in the socket resulting in a painful condition called dry socket.. If this happens, your dentist can place a sedative dressing over the socket for a few days to protect it as a new clot forms.
What to Tell Your Dentist Before You Have an Extraction
Pulling teeth, when a dental professional does it, is generally safe. However, the procedure can possibly allow harmful bacteria into your bloodstream if you don’t take appropriate precautions. In addition, the gum tissue could become infected. In short, if you have a condition that puts you at high risk for developing a severe infection, the dentist may recommend that you take antibiotics before and after the removal. Prior to having teeth pulled, you should let your dentist know your complete medical history, as well as any medications and supplements you might take. If any of these conditions apply, be sure to discuss them with the dentist.
- Damaged or man-made heart valves
- Congenital heart defect
- Impaired immune system
- Liver disease (cirrhosis)
- An artificial joint, such as a hip replacement
- History of bacterial endocarditis
After You’ve Had a Tooth Removed
Following the removal, your dentist will send you home to recover, which will probably take a few days. You can minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed recovery by doing the following:.
- Take painkillers as prescribed.
- Bite gently but firmly on the gauze pad that your dentist will place at the extraction site to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. You will want to change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood, but leave a series of pads in place for three to four hours after the removal.
- Applying an ice bag to the affected area immediately after the procedure will keep swelling to a minimum. Keep ice in place for 10 minutes at a time.
- Rest and relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction and limit your activity for a couple of days.
- Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the removal to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket.
- After 24 hours you should rinse your mouth with a solution of eight ounces of eight ounces of water with a half teaspoon salt.
- Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
- Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
- Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the procedure. Add solid foods gradually to your diet as the site heals.
- When lying down, prop your head up with pillows. This slows the flow of blood to the location of the pulled tooth, whereas lying flat may prolong bleeding.
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid touching the removal site in order to avoid infection.
When to Call the Dentist after a Tooth Removal
You are likely to feel some pain after the anesthesia wears off. For 24 hours after having a tooth pulled, you should also expect some swelling and a little residual bleeding. On the other hand, if active bleeding continues or you feel severe pain more than four hours after the tooth is pulled, you need to call the dentist. Notify the dentist if you experience any of the following:
- Evidence of infection, which would include fever and chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Redness or swelling in the affected area, or excessive discharge from the affected area
- Coughing, shortness of breath, or chest pain
You can expect the healing period to last a week or two. Meanwhile, new bone and new gum tissues will grow into the gap where the tooth was.
The initial healing period usually takes about one to two weeks. New bone and gum tissue will grow into the gap where the tooth used to be. However, a gap from a missing tooth can allow the remaining teeth to shift position. This can affect your bite and make it more difficult to chew. Your dentist will probably recommend that you replace the missing tooth or teeth with an implant, a fixed bridge or denture.
Gateway Oral Surgeons at Your Service
Your dental health is important. You want to have a surgeon performing this procedure that you can trust. Let Gateway offer you the highest level of skill and competence to bring you peace of mind for all your dental needs.