Tooth extraction is one of the dental procedures that our dentists here at Deer Park Dental will evaluate and refer to the appropriate specialist. Dr. Michael Moreno, our periodontist, performs extractions when involved with the same area as periodontal treatment.  We also work with several oral surgery offices in the community, including Brookside Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery office which is next door to our office.  They offer a variety of services including extractions and implant placement. There are various reasons why a tooth has to be extracted. Regardless of the reason, our dental practice in Stockton ensures that you receive appropriate treatment while you are under our care.

What is tooth extraction?

Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth or multiple teeth. This procedure could be recommended by our Stockton dentists for patients who have tooth decay, periodontal disease that is hopeless, fractured tooth that is not restorable or failing root canal or endodontic tooth that will not be treated. In some cases, teeth may have to be removed to avoid interfering with an orthodontic treatment. Some individuals also seek such procedure simply to have a wisdom tooth removed. A tooth extraction is a serious dental procedure that should only be done by a qualified and experienced dentist. Patients also have to be aware that aftercare is just as important as the actual procedure. By following the instructions of your dentist, you can reduce the pain and risk of infection after tooth extraction.

How should you care for your teeth after tooth extraction?

  • Apply pressure to the surgical area by biting down on a gauze pad or moistened tea bag with intervals of 45 to 60 minutes. When water in the gauze pad or tea bag begins to dry out, dampen it with water and repeat the routine until the bleeding decreases. Change the pad if necessary.
  • Always keep your head in an elevated position and avoid strenuous activities to prevent bleeding. Avoid rinsing for 1-2 weeks as that can dislodge the blood clot that helps in healing and can lead to a dry socket.  In trying to avoid rinsing, also avoid tooth-paste for the first week as rinsing out all the foam from the toothpaste can also result in losing the blood clot and getting a dry socket (which can be very painful). You may dip your toothbrush in mouthwash to have a fresher feel from brushing then just spit out.  If you have pain more severe after three days, please call your dentist so that you can be evaluated for a possible dry socket.  Do not rinse with mouthwash that contains alcohol to avoid irritating the wound.
  • When brushing the teeth, avoid including the sutures around the surgical site. Avoid touching the wound or moving it with your tongue.
  • Swelling can be alleviated by placing ice packs near the site of extraction.
  • Take all medications prescribed by your dentist.
  • Eat soft foods that are high in protein.
  • Always maintain hydration by drinking lots of fluids. However, drinking using a straw is prohibited for the next five to seven days.
  • Refrain from smoking over the next three to four days as this can increase your risk for acquiring infection or a dry socket.

When are the sutures removed?

After tooth extraction, you have to undergo a recovery period. After 3 to 14 days, your sutures may already start to dissolve or fall out on their own. In cases of non-resorbable sutures, you will be requested to return for a follow-up appointment to remove the stitches. Over time, the empty socket left by the extraction site will be filled in with bone and smooth over with the neighboring tissues.

What are the potential complications following a tooth extraction?

As with any other dental procedure, tooth extraction comes with possible complications. This includes bleeding. Although bleeding is normal during the first 36 hours following the procedure, it can get excessive. This can be alleviated by applying constant pressure over the area and keeping your head elevated at all times.

Other complications include bone sequestra or having dead tooth fragments, dry socket, swelling, numbness, and light-headedness. In more serious cases, the patient may experience trismus or the difficulty of opening or closing the mouth. When such symptom is experienced, do not panic as this can be due to the soreness of your jaw joints and chewing muscles after surgery. Moreover, this will eventually subside after three to seven days.