HEALTHY MOUTH TIPS
Tooth Extractions: What You Should Know
Tooth extractions cannot always be avoided, and you may find yourself in a position where you are told you need to have a tooth pulled. It can be scary to think you are about to lose a tooth, but the procedure is safe, routine, and common.
Below, Dr. Kim will talk to you more about some of the reasons why you may need a tooth extraction, what you can expect, and whether you should alert the dentist to any concerns.
If you need to have a tooth extracted, now is the time to book your appointment with Dr. Kim in our Torrance, CA office.
Reasons You May Need a Tooth Extraction
When you think about your adult or permanent teeth, you think about them being there permanently, right? Well, this is not always the case. In fact, your permanent teeth can become damaged due to decay, being knocked with a hard object, and more. This then leads to them needing to be extracted which shortens their life and the amount of time they spend in your mouth.
Below, Dr. Kim will cover some of the additional reasons why you may need to have a tooth extracted.
If you have crowded teeth, you may need to have one or two extracted to make room. This is common and happens most commonly in orthodontic treatment. Since the goal behind orthodontic treatment is to properly align your jaw and straighten your teeth, Dr. Kim may recommend extracting some to achieve this.
If you are at a higher risk of infection due to a systematic disease or condition, Dr. Kim may suggest that you have a tooth extracted. This is done in your best interest to avoid the infection.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious condition that leads to tooth loss. Since the disease affects the gum and bone tissue, you may experience loosened teeth, which, if that happens, Dr. Kim will recommend that you have them extracted.
When a tooth experiences decay that eats into the tooth’s pulp, it becomes infected and this can cause serious pain. Often, this type of infection is controlled and removed with a root canal, but when the root canal does not work, the tooth will need to be extracted.
What to Expect When Your Tooth is Extracted
Dr. Kim is an experienced and licensed dentist and oral surgeon, which means he can perform all tooth extractions properly and in a safe environment. If you do need to have a tooth removed from your mouth, you should ONLY work with an expert and licensed oral surgeon.
Before Dr. Kim pulls your tooth, you will be provided with an injection of a local anesthetic that numbs the area around the tooth to be removed. The anesthetic works to eliminate any pain or discomfort that would otherwise be felt. If you have a complicated or impacted tooth extraction, Dr. Kim may opt to provide you with general anesthesia, which will be discussed with you prior to the procedure being performed.
If you have an impacted tooth that needs to be extracted, Dr. Kim will cut away the gum and bone tissue covering the tooth to expose it. He will then use a pair of forceps to grasp the tooth and wiggle it forward and backward until loosened and able to be removed. If the tooth is not able to be removed in one piece, it may be separated into multiple pieces for removal.
Once your tooth has been extracted, you will be given a piece of gauze that is placed into the socket where the extraction took place. This gauze will help stop the bleeding and create a blood clot. If you need to receive stitches, this is the time in which you would.
It is important that you do not suck or smoke for 24 hours as the blood clot needs to stay in the socket. If the blood clot becomes dislodged, you will experience something called dry socket, which is painful. Should it happen to you, you need to call our office immediately.
What Dr. Kim Need to Know BEFORE a Tooth Extraction
A tooth extraction is a safe procedure but there are situations that may require extra precautions. For example, if you are at risk of developing any serious infections, this is something Dr. Kim needs to know. He will likely place you on antibiotics before the procedure and after as well.
Prior to your tooth being extracted, you should communicate with Dr. Kim about your medical history and any supplements or medications you are currently on.
You should also let Dr. Kim know if you have:
• Congenital heart defects
• Artificial joints
• Liver disease
• Impaired immune system
• History of bacterial endocarditis
• Man-made or damaged heart valves
Now That My Tooth Has Been Pulled: What Do I Do?
Once your tooth has been extracted, Dr. Kim will work with you to ensure you understand the aftercare instructions and what to watch out for. Recovery from your extraction will take up to a few days but most patients can return to work or their normal daily activities within a day.
Below you will find some tips from Dr. Kim about how you can reduce the risk of infection and discomfort as you heal:
• Relax over the next 24 hours and limit your activity until the bleeding subsides
• Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours
• Do not rinse or forcefully spit from your mouth for the first 24 hours
• Always eat soft foods until the area is no longer tender
• Do not smoke
• Take any and all prescribed medications as directed
Once 24 hours has passed, rinse your mouth with a salt water solution, which contains 8 ounces of warm water and a half teaspoon of salt
Follow a good oral hygiene routine and continue to brush and floss your teeth as normal
Apply an ice pack directly to the outside cheek of the area where the tooth was extracted to minimize swelling
Use gauze to control bleeding and bite down on the gauze to help allow a clot to form in the socket
Prop your head up when you lie down to prevent bleeding.
Should You Call Dr. Steve S. Kim DDS?
Tooth extractions are considered to be safe and typically do not present any issues, but there are times where you do need to call our office. It is normal for you to experience some pain once the anesthetic wears off and you can take pain medications that were prescribed or over the counter options. Should the pain continue or become severe, call us immediately.
You can expect slight swelling and bleeding over the course of the next 24 hours. It should not be significant and if it is, call us.
You should call our office if you experience:
• Cough or shortness of breath
• Severe nausea or vomiting
• Excessive discharge from the extraction site
• Redness or swelling
It can take up to two weeks for the new gum and bone tissue to grow into place over the area where the extraction took place, so do not become alarmed. If you would like to discuss dental implants as a tooth replacement option, Dr. Kim would love to hear from you.
Call Our Torrance, CA Dental Clinic Today
Call our office today to book your consultation with Dr. Kim!