There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it is nonrestorable, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding (refer to Post-Op Instructions).
What to Expect After Surgery
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist. The following tips will help speed your recovery.
- Bite gently on the gauze pad periodically, and change pads as they become saturated. Call your dentist if you still have bleeding that persists after your surgery. While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek, lip or tongue.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for the first 24 hours. You can use moist heat — such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wrung out — for the following 2 or 3 days.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- Do not use a straw for the first few days. Sucking on a straw can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
- After the first 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to aid in healing and relieve pain.
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery. The sucking motion can loosen the clot and delay healing. In addition, smoking decreases the blood supply and can bring germs and contaminants to the surgical area.
- Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue or touching it with your fingers.
- Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully. Your dentist will remove the stitches after a few days, if needed.
A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may arise in the future. When wisdom teeth come in, a number of problems can occur. Food and germs can become trapped and cause your gums to become red, swollen and painful. These are signs of infection. More serious problems can develop from impacted teeth, such as infection, damage to other teeth and bone or the development of a cyst.
Trenton H. Buchanan, D.M.D.
140 Village Street
Birmingham, AL 35242
Experience exceptional dental care with amazing results at Greystone Smile Design, Birmingham, Alabama family and cosmetic dentist Dr. Trent Buchanan.
Greystone Smile Design • 140 Village Street • Suite 203 • Birmingham, AL 35242
Call (205) 981-7775
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