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Extractions

Sometimes, when a tooth breaks or becomes infected, the patient chooses to have that tooth removed from the mouth, which is also called an extraction.

Extractions begin by adequately numbing up the area. Under almost all circumstances, the extraction themselves shouldn’t be painful. You will feel lots of pressure as the tooth is being removed, but not sharp pain. If you do feel pain, have the dentist stop immediately and apply more anesthetic. During the course of an extraction, you may also hear cracking or popping, which is normal. When a tooth doesn’t come out easily, the dentist may need to make an incision in the surrounding gums and remove some of the bone around the tooth to make sure the entire tooth comes out. Sometimes the dentist may also cut the tooth into pieces and remove the pieces separately. Both are common procedures and shouldn’t distress you.

Post-Procedure

After the extraction has been completed, the dentist may place one or more stitches, often using a dissolvable stitch that will fall out in 5-7 days.

After the surgery, you will need to rest your mouth. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your dentist. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your dentist will likely prescribe you pain medication. You can also use an ice pack for the pain, rotating 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off for 30-40 minutes if needed. You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery, and nothing too hot, too cold or too spicy.

When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist for a follow-up visit.