One of the primary goals of dentists is to help patients keep as many natural teeth as possible. Guidelines for brushing, flossing, and cleaning are often designed to maximize a patient’s chance to keep as many teeth in their mouth for as long as possible. While replacements (such as implants, bridges, and dentures) can do a reasonably good job of restoring a smile, most dentists will prefer to save a tooth if at all possible.
Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not possible, and a dentist will recommend tooth extraction. This can be the case in a number of circumstances, including physical injury (such as sports injuries where the tooth is physically damaged), or severe decay or gum disease, where the underlying bone socket is simply unable to support the tooth. In these cases, a dentist may need to recommend oral surgery for the purpose of tooth extraction.
The extraction process may be conducted by a dentist or an oral surgeon, depending on the condition of the tooth and the patient’s general health. Typically, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area. If more than one tooth is to be removed, general anesthesia may be used. After the tooth is removed, stitches will be used to close the opening, keeping food out of the socket while the incision heals.
After the procedure, it’s important to follow the procedure your dentist prescribes for caring for your mouth. You’ll likely be prescribed mild pain killers, and your dentist may recommend ice to help control pain and swelling. You may be asked to rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help clean bacteria from the extraction site. You’ll likely be packed with gauze to help control bleeding, and that gauze will need to be changed periodically. You should avoid smoking, eating using that part of the mouth, hard foods, and avoid touching that area of the mouth with your tongue, as it may encourage bleeding.
If you have questions about an upcoming extraction, or if you’ve recently had an extraction and you have questions about the recovery process, contact your dentist. They’ll be more than happy to explain the process, and help ensure you’re recovering as quickly and painlessly as possible.
For more information on your oral health, contact Dr. James Yankowskas and make an appointmentat (978) 649-7773 or visit our website.
Dr. James Yankowskas also proudly serves Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable, and surrounding areas.