Oral Surgery & Tooth Extraction in Altoona, PA
Reasons for Extraction and Possible Causes
There are several reasons for removing one or more teeth, and the most common reason for extraction is damage due to trauma or decay. Most dentists today offer various methods for saving teeth. However, extraction remains the most effective way to treat a severely damaged tooth. Dr. Bihary and his staff will perform a thorough check on all aspects of any tooth decay you may have. Contact us online anytime to schedule an appointment or call us during business hours at 814-317-5349.
Gum Disease & Discomfort are Signs to See Dr. Bihary
Other reasons for extraction include:
• Crowded Mouth
• Infection, or risk of infection
• Periodontal Disease (gum disease)
Dr. Bihary will examine your mouth to see whether there might be a method he can use to save your tooth. Also know that some teeth are easier to remove than others, and each patient has a different level of tolerance for pain and discomfort. If your dental problem involves extensive tooth extraction requiring specialty care, you may be referred to an oral surgeon.
Tooth Extraction: What to Expect
Dentists and oral surgeons both look to keep their patients as comfortable as possible during a tooth extraction. Even with a simple extraction, the dentist will give an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. An oral surgeon performing extensive work or removing an impacted tooth may use a strong, general anesthetic. These help to prevent pain throughout your body. The doctor will review the type of anesthetic to be used, as well as its after-effects.
When dealing with an impacted tooth, the dentist must cut away gum and bone tissue that surround the tooth. Using tools, the tooth is usually rocked back and forth to loosen it from the bone and ligaments that hold it in place. If the tooth does not come loose with rocking, the dentist may have to remove it in pieces.
Once a tooth is pulled, blood will flow. The dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket where the tooth was, and ask you to bite down until the blood clots. Once the clot forms and the bleeding stops, the dentist may choose to place a few stitches to close the gum edges over socket, but this is not always required.
It is not uncommon for the blood clot in the socket to break loose, and expose the bone in the socket. This is a painful condition known as “dry socket.” Should this occur, the dentist will place a sedative dressing over the socket for a few days, so it is protected until a new clot forms.
Let Dr. Bihary Know…
A tooth extraction is a generally safe procedure, but there can be a few consequences. Bacteria may enter your bloodstream through the open, healing wound, and gum tissue may be at risk of infection. If you have another medical condition that puts you at high medical risk for bleeding or infection, you may need to take antibiotics before and after the procedure.
Let Dr. Bihary know your complete medical history (such as, whether you have ever had heart surgery), the medications or other supplements you take (and why), and if you have any of these:
• Damaged or manufactured heart valves
• Congenital heart defect
• Impaired immune system
• Liver disease (cirrhosis)
• Artificial joint, such as a hip replacement
• History of bacterial endocardit
Care After Extraction & During Recovery
Dental procedures, like extraction, do require some time where you take it easy. Dr. Bihary will review his expectations with you for after extraction and during recovery. You should be aware that your healing may take place anywhere from a few days, to a week or more.
To help reduce discomfort, the risk of infection, and move your recovery along, follow the doctor’s instructions carefully and:
1. Take any painkillers or pain reliever as prescribed.
2. Continue to bite firmly and gently on the gauze pad the dentist places. This reduces your bleeding and encourages the clot to form in the socket.
3. Change the gauze pads before they become completely soaked with blood and saliva. You may leave the pad in place for three or four hours after the extraction.
4. Apply an ice bag to the area immediately after the procedure to keep swelling down. The ice bag may be applied for ten minutes at a time.
5. Be sure to relax at least 24 hours after the extraction, and limit activity for the next day or two.
6. Do not rinse or spit with any amount of force for at least 24 hours after extraction. This will avoid knocking the newly formed clot out of the socket. Also avoid drinking from a straw during the first 24 hours after extraction.
7. You may rinse your mouth after 24 hours with a solution made of 8 ounces of warm water mixed with ½ teaspoon salt.
8. Avoid smoking, as this can also inhibit healing.
9. Choose to eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, applesauce, or ice cream for the day after the extraction. Add solid foods as the site heals.
10. When laying down, put pillows under your head to prop your head. This may help shorten any bleeding as the site heals.
11. Brush and floss your other teeth, brush your tongue, but make sure to avoid disturbing the extraction site. Keeping mouth germs down will help prevent infection.
Be Sure to Call Dr. Bihary… Some amount of pain and discomfort is normal after anesthesia wears off. You may expect some swelling and residual bleeding for the first 24 hours after extraction. If your bleeding or pain is severe for more than four hours after your tooth is pulled, please be sure to call Dr. Bihary. Also let him know if you experience:
• Any sign of serious infection, such as fever or chills.
• Excessive discharge from the affected area, including any increasing redness or swelling.
• Coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting.
The average healing period for extraction can take from one to two weeks. This is the time it takes for new bone and gum tissue to form into the gap where the tooth was. It is also normal for other teeth to shift over time, which can affect the way you bite and chew. The dentist may let you know about replacing the missing tooth (or teeth) with an implant, fixed bridge, or denture appliance to hold your smile.