Dental extractions come in two basic types – simple and surgical. Which kind is right for you will depend on the situation we are looking to fix.
Ideally, we prefer to save your natural teeth whenever possible. Unfortunately, this sometimes is not the appropriate solution and it becomes necessary to extract a tooth in order to protect the health of your other teeth. Some of the situations that may warrant an extraction include:
- Severely broken or fractured teeth
- Severely decayed teeth
- Impacted wisdom teeth
Simple extractions are performed when the tooth is above the gumline and can be removed with a lifter and forceps. The process and healing time are both quick. This may be used for a decayed tooth or a tooth that is broken but is still above the gumline. It’s also used to remove teeth when the root has died or if your teeth are crowded and removal is necessary to facilitate orthodontic treatment.
Surgical extractions, on the other hand, are more complicated. A surgical extraction requires an incision into the gum to get to the tooth. This type of extraction is necessary if your tooth has broken below the gumline or if it is multiple pieces and some are stuck beneath the gums. A surgical extraction is also necessary for impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or completely covered by gum tissue.
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 prescribe you pain medication, so if you become sore take as directed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain. Your dentist might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site.
You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Ice Cream
- Thin Soups
- ...and other food you can eat without chewing.
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.