Although dentists are in the business of saving teeth, and although there are numerous ways to save a compromised tooth depending on the issue, there are still times when your tooth may need to be pulled. There are reasons that a tooth extraction would be the treatment of choice. The most common reason is an impacted wisdom tooth/teeth. Other reasons include failed root canal treatment, a severely damaged tooth, or a severe tooth infection.
If you have a tooth or teeth that need extracting, your dentist will provide a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth is to be removed. While the procedure merely consists of grasping the tooth with forceps and gently rocking it back and forth until it is loose enough to remove, if the tooth is impacted, or broken down to the root, your dentist may need to remove it surgically.
Once the tooth has been pulled, a blood clot will form in the socket. This is a natural part of healing, and you must take care not to dislodge it. Aftercare includes:
- Taking painkillers as prescribed
- Biting firmly but gently on a gauze pad to reduce bleeding and to allow the clot to form
- Applying an ice bag to the affected area immediately after the procedure
- Relaxing for the first 24 hours after the extraction, then limiting activity for the next day or two
- Avoiding rinsing or spitting forcefully for the first 24 hours after the extraction
- Rinsing with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 8 ounces of warm water 24 hours after the extraction
- Avoiding drinking from a straw the first 24 hours after the extraction
- Not smoking because it can inhibit healing
- Eating soft foods the day after the extraction