Tooth Extraction

Recovering After a Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction refers to a dental procedure that involves the total removal of one or more teeth from the mouth. Although teeth are meant to last a lifetime, there are a few reasons that would warrant an extraction. These include a crowded mouth, severe tooth decay, to alleviate the risk of infection, or periodontal (gum) disease. 

If a Georgetown, KY dentist recommends tooth extraction, don’t panic. It’s a painless procedure that will spare you from damaged teeth and a plethora of dental bills in the future. At ThoroughDent Smiles in Georgetown, our dentists are committed to keeping your smiles healthy and beautiful. 

Your oral health is our biggest priority, and our dentists have prepared this comprehensive guide to help you recover from a tooth extraction in good time and without any complications. 

What Happens During the Extraction?

Before the procedure begins, your Georgetown, KY dentist will inject you with a local anesthetic. This will prevent you from feeling any pain as the tooth is removed, though you’ll stay awake during the procedure. If your dentist is extracting more than one tooth or a un-erupted wisdom tooth, she will use a strong general anesthetic that will make you sleep for the procedure. 

Unlike what some may think, your dentist won’t just grab your tooth and start pulling. He or she will cut away gum and bone tissue before gently rocking the tooth back and forth to dislodge it from the jaw bone and ligaments holding it in place. A hard to remove tooth may be removed in pieces. 

After the tooth is out, a blood clot will form in the socket, says Dr. Jordan Smith, an emergency dentist in Georgetown KY, and that clot is integral to a quick and full recovery. Your dentist will then pack a gauze pad into the empty socket and instruct you to bite down on it. This will help stop the bleeding. Self-dissolving stitches may be used to close the gum edges over the extraction site. 

Aftercare

The hardest part is now over, and the dentist will send you home to recover. According to Dr. Kristina Neda from ThoroughDent Smiles, recovery usually takes seven to ten days with proper care. The anesthetic used in tooth extraction may leave you feeling loopy, so don’t drive yourself home. 

The first thing to do is to control the bleeding. A blood clot will form in the socket soon after your dentist extracts your tooth, but the wound may bleed for a while before drying out. Gently bite down on the gauze pad at the extraction site and change it before it’s soaked with blood. Do this for three to four hours after the extraction, or until the bleeding stops completely. 

If the bleeding is excessive, Dr. Jordan Smith advises you to bite on a regular tea bag. Tea is flush with tannic acid that aids in the formation of blood clots. Don’t panic if the wound oozes blood on the first day, she says. It’s entirely normal. 

There may also be some swelling or bruising on your cheek and jaw after the extraction. Hold an ice pack against your cheek for ten minutes, remove it for five minutes, and repeat the cycle until the swelling reduces. You can make a simple ice pack by filling a plastic bag with ice then wrapping it in a thin towel. 

Our dentists at ThoroughDent Smiles in Georgetown KY, recommend at least 24 hours of rest after tooth extraction and to limit physical activity for the next day or two. You need to give your body time to heal. 

Here’s Where it Gets a Little Serious

Healing from a tooth extraction in Georgetown, KY is usually a quick, hassle-free process, but only if you take proper care of the extraction site. For starters, avoid any sort of suction with your mouth, such as sucking through a straw. Once a tooth is extracted, Dr. Chris Green, an emergency dentist in Parker, CO, says a blood clot forms in the socket to protect the bone and nerve underneath, and any suction will dislodge this vital blood clot leading to a condition called dry socket

Once the clot is dislodged, the sensitive bone and nerve tissue will be exposed to air, food, and anything that enters the mouth. This can lead to infection and pretty severe pain. 

Our dentists also advise against smoking soon after a tooth is extracted. The empty socket is in a state of regeneration and bone creation, and smoking interferes with this process. The wound will heal a lot slower, and this could result in an infection and severe pain at the extraction site. On top of that, the suction created as you pull on whatever you’re smoking could dislodge the blood clot in the socket and lead to the dreaded dry socket. 

Eat soft, healthy foods like soup, yogurt or pudding, and avoid chewing on the side with the extracted tooth. Make sure you drink plenty of water too. You can brush your teeth, but do it gently and avoid the extraction site. Don’t use toothpaste as rinsing it may dislodge the blood clot. Avoid any hot liquids, spitting forcefully, and if you have to rinse your mouth, do so very, very gently. 

When to Call a Dentist

Don’t tough it out if the pain becomes too much, or the bleeding doesn’t stop four hours after the extraction. You should also call your ThoroughDent Smiles dentist if the swelling around the zone worsens, or you feel nauseated, are having shortness of breath, chest pain or fever, and chills, which are signs of an infection. 

New bone and tissue will grow into the socket, but over time, your other teeth may shift due to the gap. This could affect your bite and ability to chew, and that is why Dr. Jordan Smith, the best dentist in Georgetown KY, may advise you to replace the tooth with an implant, a denture, or a fixed bridge. 

Tooth extraction is a relatively standard dental procedure, and recovering from it can be smooth if you take proper care. Our dentists at ThoroughDent Smiles in Georgetown, KY, recommend plenty of rest afterward, soft, healthy food and lots of water. Avoid hot liquids, smoking, or creating suction of any sort. Do you want to have a tooth extracted due to a variety of reasons? Or are you in need of other dental services? Feel free to contact ThoroughDent Smiles for a consultation.