Our chief purpose is to aid you in retaining your natural teeth for as long as possible, in the best condition possible. However, situations may arise when, due to disease or trauma, extraction is the most prudent course of care. Dr. Josie Dovidio performs extractions at our office, and we will explain the procedure in detail so that you can decide if it will help meet your goals for your dental health.
You may need an extraction if your teeth are irreparably decayed or broken, too infected for a root canal to be effective, or so crowded that your bite is maloccluded. Any of these will have an adverse effect on the health of your remaining teeth and gum tissue and must be dealt with fast. The final decision is yours, but we want to be certain that you have the information you need to be well-informed about the outcome.
If your tooth or teeth are broken or decayed beyond restoration or if you have crowded teeth that need to be removed to make space in your mouth, Dr. Dovidio will perform a simple extraction. Simple extractions are quick procedures. Dr. Dovidio will numb the area and use a device called an elevator to lift up and remove the tooth. You will feel some tenderness and discomfort once the anesthetic wears off. You can treat this with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen (Advil), unless you are prescribed stronger medication.
There will be some bleeding from the tooth socket for about 24 hours. After the tooth is removed, Dr. Dovidio will put a pack on the socket and have you bite down on it for twenty minutes; this will put pressure on the wound and help a clot to form that will protect the socket from drying out. If it continues to bleed, Dr. Dovidio will place gauze on the socket and have you bite down on that for twenty minutes.
Once home, you should avoid hot foods or beverages, eat soft foods, and try not to spit. Do not smoke, rinse out your mouth, or use straws (the suction caused by any of these can dislodge the clot). After 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth after meals with a mild mouthwash or a warm salt-water rinse (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water). If you have swelling, place an ice pack on the site of the extraction for 15 minutes at a time. Your socket should heal within two weeks, and you may find one or two small splinters of bone coming out. If you have more than two in two weeks’ time, contact our office to make a follow-up appointment with Dr. Dovidio.
Impacted teeth require surgical extractions. Impacted teeth are teeth that fail to erupt completely through the gum. You may have a wisdom tooth that’s trying to come in sideways or that has become tilted in your jaw because there isn’t enough room, or you may have a tooth that, due to an accident or injury, was broken off beneath the gum line. Impacted teeth can lead to infected gums, or to a specific infection called pericoronitis, which if severe enough can require hospitalization and surgery. In rare but serious cases, untreated impacted teeth can produce cysts in the jaw, with symptoms such as pain when you open your mouth or chew, a bad taste or bad breath, and swollen gums in the back of your mouth.
Before the surgical extraction, Dr. Dovidio will explain what will happen, what sort of anesthesia will be used during surgery, and the protocol to follow before surgery – no food for 6 hours before the procedure and have someone to drive you to our office and drive you home afterward. The surgery itself may take no longer than two hours. Dr. Dovidio will give you aftercare instructions to make certain your recovery goes smoothly.
We want to keep your teeth healthy and in excellent condition. If you need an extraction performed or if you’re anxious about the state of your teeth, call our office to set up an appointment with Dr. Dovidio today.