- Dental Implants
- Composite Fillings
- Crowns (Caps)
- Dentures & Partial Dentures
- Fixed Bridges
- Root Canal Therapy
When it comes to dental procedures, tooth extraction — or having teeth “pulled” — is among patients’ most dreaded prospects. Also referred to as exodontia, tooth extraction involves removing a tooth from its socket in the jaw bone. Before Dr. Gawlik considers extraction, every effort will be made to try to repair and restore your tooth. However, sometimes a tooth extraction is necessary for the overall health of your mouth.
Some Possible Reasons for Tooth Extraction:
- Severe Tooth Damage/Trauma: Some teeth have such extensive decay and damage (broken or cracked) that repair is not possible. For example, teeth affected by advanced gum (periodontal) disease may need to be pulled. As gum disease worsens, the tooth — supported by less surrounding bone — often loosens to such an extent that tooth extraction is the only solution.
- Malpositioned/Nonfunctioning Teeth: To avoid possible complications that may result in an eventual, negative impact on oral health, Dr. Gawlik may recommend removing teeth that are malaligned and/or essentially useless (teeth that have no opposing teeth to bite against).
- Orthodontic Treatment: Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, may require tooth extraction to make needed space for improved teeth alignment.
- Extra Teeth: Also referred to as supernumerary teeth, extra teeth may block other teeth from erupting.
- Wisdom Teeth: Wisdom teeth removal is one of the more common categories of tooth extraction. We recommend removing wisdom teeth (third molars) before they are fully developed — usually in the adolescent years — to help eliminate potential problems, such as: development of an impacted tooth that has surfaced and has no room in the mouth to grow. Other problems associated with impacted teeth include infection, decay of adjacent teeth, bite interference and gum disease.
There are two types of tooth extractions:
- Simple Extractions: These are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth. Dr. John Gawlik will commonly perform simple extractions in office and with minimal pain or discomfort to the patient.
- Surgical Extractions: These involve teeth that cannot easily be seen or reached in the mouth, either because they have broken off at the gum line or they have not fully erupted. Dr. Gawlik will often refer a patient to a cooperating oral surgeon when extractions require some type of surgical procedure, such as bone removal, removing and/or lifting and folding back all or part of the gum tissue to expose the tooth, or breaking the tooth into pieces (called tooth sectioning). Dr. Gawlik will work closely with the Oral Surgeon to ensure the proper outcome for the final restoration of the tooth.
Preparing for Your Tooth Extraction
Prior to a tooth extraction, Dr. Gawlik will discuss your medical and dental histories and take X-rays. Sometimes he will prescribe antibiotics to be taken before and after surgery.
To avoid possible complications, inform Lifesmiles Family Dentistry about all the medications — prescriptions, over-the-counter (OTC) and herbal — you are taking. For example, aspirin slows the blood-clotting process; gingko biloba and ginseng also affect clotting.
Your comfort during a procedure:
Many people like to be sedated for a tooth extraction. Possible sedation dentistry options include nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), an oral sedative (such as a Valium pill) or an intravenous sedative that is administered into your veins by injection. If you opt for nitrous oxide, you can drive yourself home. If you choose one of the other types of sedation, you will need someone to drive you to and from your dental visit.
Tooth Extraction Aftercare
Some swelling and discomfort are normal after a tooth extraction.
Cold compresses or ice packs can help decrease the swelling. If your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling dissipates, apply warm compresses. Sleeping with your head face upward to relieve pressure on the jaw, and keeping your head elevated with extra pillows also may help. Dr. Gawlik may recommend you take an OTC pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) for several days which will typically reduce pain and swelling. In some cases Dr. Gawlik will prescribe a prescription pain medication.
Other aftercare tips include:
- Do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours immediately following a tooth extraction.
- Stick to a soft or liquid diet (milk, ice cream, mashed potatoes, pudding) the day of and the day after a tooth extraction, gradually progressing to eating other easy-to-chew foods. Chew with teeth that are far from the extraction site.
- Brush and floss the other teeth as usual, but avoid the teeth and gum next to the extraction socket.
- After the first 24 hours, for at least five days after extraction, gently rinse the socket with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water) after meals and before bed.
- Avoid anything that might dislodge the blood clot and delay or prevent normal healing.
- Do not smoke, vigorously rinse or spit, engage in strenuous activities, or drink through a straw for at least two days after an extraction.
- Stay away from hot liquids, foods that are crunchy or contain seeds or small grains, alcohol, and carbonated soft drinks for two to three days after tooth extractions.
- Do not brush your gums or use an OTC mouth rinse (you can use homemade water-and-salt washes).
Contact Lifesmiles Family Dentistry for your FREE, No-Obligation consultation. We proudly serve patients in Edina, Bloomington, Richfield, Eden Prairie and Minneapolis, MN.