When you have a toothache, the underlying reasons are numerous. Likely, your tooth is decayed and either needs to be filled with a restoration or in severe cases, it may need to be removed. The dentists at Cariboo Dental Clinic in Williams Lake will assess your aching tooth to determine what measures need to be taken to alleviate your discomfort. If you have advanced periodontal disease, or the tooth is broken beyond repair, it will need to be removed.
Tooth extractions may be performed for other reasons such as wisdom teeth growing in and causing shifting of existing teeth. Impacted teeth may also be a source of discomfort, and extraction could be the only solution. When preparing for orthodontic treatment, some teeth may need to be extracted in order to create room to allow misaligned teeth to straighten.
Following a tooth extraction your chewing ability may be compromised and adjacent teeth may also begin to shift and fill the space left by the extracted tooth. Your dentist will advise you on available options to prevent this from occurring.
The Extraction Process
In preparation for a tooth extraction, the dentist will numb your tooth and surrounding tissue with local anesthetic. During the extraction process you will feel some pressure as a result of the firm rocking motion which is necessary to widen the socket for removal.
Sectioning a Tooth
Some tooth sockets are not easily expandable or the root of the tooth is curved and firmly rooted in the jawbone. In such cases, in order to remove the tooth, the dentist will need to cut it into sections and remove each section individually.
Following any surgery, some bleeding will occur. To stop bleeding, a piece of moist gauze can be placed over the empty tooth socket and you will need to bite down firmly for approximately 45 minutes before the blood will clot and bleeding will stop.
It's important to be careful not to dislodge the clot during brushing or eating. Also, avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the extraction and avoid smoking, hot liquids and using straws.
If swelling occurs, hold an ice pack on your face for 10 minutes and off for 20 minutes. Repeat this process as many times over a 24-hour period until you feel comfortable.
Pain and Medications
Pain after your extraction can be managed by using non-prescription pain relief medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Try to stick with soft foods and chew on the opposite side of the extraction site. Avoid hot liquids and alcoholic beverages for 24 hours after the extraction.
When the blood at the extraction site fails to clot, it is known as dry socket. Dry socket can also be the result of a dislodged blood clot within the socket. Following the post extraction instructions will minimize your chances of developing dry socket. If you are experiencing a dull throbbing pain radiating from the extraction site, which doesn’t appear until three to four days after the extraction, call your dentist—you could be suffering from dry socket. Other symptoms of dry socket include a bad taste or bad breath, and a dry extraction site, hence the name “dry socket.” Dry socket can significantly delay the healing process.
Brushing and Cleaning
Avoid brushing the teeth near the extraction site for 24 hours following the extraction. After one day you can rinse with salt water (half a teaspoon in a cup of warm water). This will gently cleanse the mouth and reduce your risk of infection. Avoid commercial mouth rinses, as they contain harsh chemicals which will irritate the site.
Following your extraction, the socket will be hollow but will close in time. The formation of new bone to fill in the socket could take weeks, even months. However, within one to two weeks you should be able to resume your regular eating and brushing routine.
Call Cariboo Dental Clinic in Williams Lake to book your appointment!