Emergency Tooth Extractions
Sometimes our dental team needs to extract a tooth to save your remaining teeth and maintain the health of your mouth. Um, what?
Our goal is to maintain your teeth and gums to be strong and useful. But sometimes a tooth is beyond saving (it’s dead, Jim). It may be ravaged by decay. Maybe it’s broken, which makes extraction an emergency procedure. In any case, our dental team will determine that it should be extracted. Then we’ll present options to manage the suddenly available space.
Once the tooth has been removed, the space it formerly occupied must be replaced. A missing tooth takes away the support for the teeth on both sides. It’s like removing a fence post in a row of them. The posts flanking the new hole will begin to lean and skew. Ultimately a major part of the fence must be repaired. The same thing happens with your teeth. So, the space must be occupied by something, and our dental team is prepared to make recommendations.
Why pull a tooth in the first place?
For kids, pulling a baby tooth is sometimes necessary, especially if it’s broken. But don’t worry. Dr Mihyawi knows how to put children at ease. He’ll take the time to explain why their tooth will have to be taken out, how it will happen, and let them know that there will be blood. Boys might say, ‘Cool!’ And girls may exclaim, ‘Eww!’ In any case, let Dr Mihyawi do the talking for the best outcome.
Some common reasons for tooth extraction are:
- Severe tooth decay or infection that has badly damaged the tooth.
- Poorly positioned teeth that are blocking other teeth from coming into place.
- For orthodontic purposes, teeth may be extracted to make room for teeth that are being straightened.
- Wisdom teeth extraction of those ‘third molars’ that are causing a problem or could in the future.
- Advanced periodontal disease or gum disease that has affected the tissues and structures around the tooth.
- Pericoronitis (infected gum around a wisdom tooth).
Read this before you have a tooth pulled
Even though a tooth extraction is usually very safe, the procedure can release harmful bacteria into your bloodstream. Also, gum tissue can be affected by any infection that can be present. If you are at risk for severe infection, you may need to take antibiotics before and after the extraction. Before having your tooth pulled, if you’re a new patient, please tell us your complete medical history (not just dental). Also, kindly let us know any medications you’re taking, including herbal supplements, as some of them can affect blood flow.
Make your dentist aware of your situation, if you’re affected by the following conditions:
- Damaged or man-made heart valves
- Congenital heart defect
- Compromised immune system
- Liver disease
- Artificial joint (hip and/or knee replacement)
- History of bacterial endocarditis (infection of the inner surfaces of the heart, usually the valves)
- Taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications
Even if you’re one of our regular patients, please still inform us of your condition, to make sure you get the best care possible.
What happens during your tooth extraction?
Pulling your tooth is usually a very simple, quick procedure. Don’t stress over it! Once it’s done, rest a couple of days and your jaw can begin healing in order to move on to the restorative dentistry stage.
First, anesthetics are applied to numb the injured area and to help reduce pain or discomfort during the extraction. Next, your dentist will pull out the tooth using a special tool. Expect the extraction itself to take only a few minutes. You’ll have some swelling and normal bleeding after your tooth is out. Gauze pads are placed to absorb bleeding for about the next 24 hours.
Aftercare for your Tooth Extraction
Well, that wasn’t so bad. Now what?
After the anesthetics wear off, it’s normal to feel some pain and have some swelling, which should lessen over the next two days. Use an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas on your jaw to keep swelling down. Follow your dentist’s directions for taking the prescribed pain medications. Limit your physical activities. Increase fluids (mainly water) and eat soft foods to keep chewing to a minimum. Those formerly frozen peas would do nicely, now that they’re thawed. How about some creamed peas, eh?
Get back to your regular oral care routine of brushing, flossing and rinsing – carefully at first. Brush and floss twice a day as usual, and rinse at least once or twice more. Warm, mildly salty water is best for rinsing, but don’t swallow! Keep your mouth clean to prevent infection and speed up your healing.
Call us immediately
If you experience any of these symptoms:
- If bleeding becomes heavy
- If bleeding doesn’t stop within 24 hours
- If you feel severe pain
- If swelling doesn’t go down after 48 hours
- If you have an uncommon reaction to your prescription medications