A tooth that is severely damaged or infected may need to be removed. A surgeon who specializes in surgeries of the mouth or your dentist can remove (extract) a tooth.

Depending on the severity or complexity of the procedure or patient anxiety, the tooth removal can be performed with either local anesthesia or IV Sedation.

Once the tooth and surrounding area are anesthetized, the tooth is loosened by gripping it tightly and wiggling back and forth until it can be lifted out of the socket. Sometimes a tooth may be impacted so tightly that it cannot be simply lifted out of the gums. In cases like this, the tooth will be sectioned before being removed. Depending on the severity of infection and treatment goal, the socket may be grafted with “powder” bone at the time of removal and stitches may be needed to close and protect the area.

After the surgery, you can expect some bleeding. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 48 hours you should call your surgeon or dentist who performed the surgery. Rest when you return home and ice the area to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Do not lie flat as this could prolong the bleeding, instead prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your surgeon or dentist will prescribe a pain medication, be sure to take as directed.

For the first few days following the surgery, favor eating on the opposite side of your mouth and eat only soft foods. Do not use a straw following the extraction of upper molars. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. Avoid smoking.

Some recommended foods are:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Soup
  • ...and other food you can eat without chewing.

If you have prolonged discomfort, bleeding, fever, or feel that the surgical site is not healing properly call your surgeon or dentist.

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