Nobody is ever excited to have a tooth pulled, but you can rest assured that we will make every effort to make your appointment as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Our dentists have extensive experience and training in oral surgery, and we have excellent treatment options and techniques available to minimize pain and reduce anxiety. Our team will talk you through what to expect during and after your tooth extraction appointment.
Keeping You Comfortable – Pain and Anxiety Management
Your dentist will use a combination of topical and local anesthetics to minimize pain during your tooth extraction procedure. Once a tooth is extracted, your dentist will discuss appropriate medications to take to manage post-operative pain. These recommendations will depend on the complexity and invasiveness of the extraction as well as your individual medical situation. Your comfort and safety are our first priorities!
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Feeling a little nervous about your appointment? Nitrous oxide sedation is an excellent option for keeping you calm and comfortable. We offer nitrous oxide sedation in each of our treatment rooms. Nitrous oxide (sometimes referred to as “laughing gas”) is a safe and effective sedative gas that is mixed with oxygen. The patient inhales the gas through a small mask that fits over their nose. While it is okay to take a snooze during your appointment, nitrous oxide sedation is not intended to put you to sleep. You will still be able to hear and respond to your dentist’s instructions. While its effects are slightly different for everyone, patients typically feel a little “floaty,” and some patients experience a slight tingling or heaviness in their arms and legs. Ultimately it should make you feel relaxed and at-ease. The effects of the gas wear off quickly once it is turned off and the mask is removed. Since it is eliminated from your body within a few minutes, you are able to drive home after nitrous oxide sedation.
Why Do Teeth Need to Be Extracted?
Our primary goal is to preserve the health of your teeth and gums, but sometimes teeth do need to be extracted. There are several reasons why tooth extraction might be recommended by your dentist.
- Your or your child’s teeth may need to be extracted in preparation for orthodontic treatment, or one tooth may be blocking the eruption of another.
- If a tooth becomes severely damaged or decayed and cannot be restored, extraction may be recommended to resolve the infection. Severely decayed and infected teeth can often become very painful, and tooth extraction is an effective and appropriate way to resolve or prevent symptoms.
- Wisdom teeth are often recommended for extraction due to the patient not having enough space in their mouth. Young patients in their late teens to early twenties are evaluated for wisdom tooth extraction at their routine dental checkups, as this is often the best stage of life to remove them with the most minimal risk. Sometimes, wisdom tooth removal is also recommended in older patients due to decay or gum disease.
Depending on the complexity of your oral surgery needs, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may be consulted for your case. Cameo Dental maintains strong relationships with an extensive network of high quality oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the area, so that we can connect you with the care you need when you need it.
What Happens After the Tooth Comes Out? Do I Just Not Have a Tooth Anymore?
This is understandably many patient’s next question when a tooth is recommended for extraction. Your dentist will discuss with you the options for replacing your missing teeth, including all of the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision about next steps. Cameo Dental provides several excellent options for replacing missing teeth, including bridges, removable dentures, and dental implants. Variations or combinations of these treatments may be recommended depending on your individual situation. If a tooth that needs to be removed is in a place where you really don’t want anyone to see it (like your front teeth!), we can have a temporary replacement ready at the time of surgery, or in as little as 24-48 hours, depending on the situation.
Post Operative Instructions
Your Cameo Dental team will explain how to care for yourself after you’ve had a tooth extracted. A summary of our standard post operative instructions are outlined below for your reference. You are always welcome to call us if you have additional questions or concerns.
A mild amount of pain, a slight amount of bleeding, and a bit of swelling and bruising are completely normal after a tooth extraction, and typically not cause for concern. However, if any of these symptoms are prolonged or severe, you should contact Cameo Dental for appropriate follow up. If you need assistance after hours, simply call our main line (651.423.2259) and follow the instructions on the voicemail. As always, if you are having a life threatening emergency, call 911.
Pain Management: Pain can be managed with the medications your dentist recommends. Take any medications prescribed by your dentist as directed.
Bleeding: Your dental team will monitor you immediately after your extraction to ensure that bleeding is properly controlled. We will recommend that you bite down on sterile gauze for 30-60 minutes after your appointment to promote healthy blood clotting. A slight amount of bleeding the remainder of the first day is normal, and you may even notice a slight pink tint to your saliva the next day. You may want to cover your pillowcase with an old towel the first night in case you drool a bit in your sleep. If you are experiencing prolonged or extensive bleeding with bright red blood that you are unable to control, you must immediately follow up with your dentist. If you are having a life threatening emergency, call 911.
Reduced Activity: We recommend reduced activity for at least the first 24 hours after oral surgery. Be kind to yourself!
Swelling: You may use ice packs on the cheek areas overlying the extraction sites to soothe the tissues and reduce swelling. We recommend 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off as needed for the first several hours or until bedtime.
Diet: Eat a soft, nutritious diet with plenty of fluids. Avoid foods with small seeds or pieces that could get lodged in the extraction site.
Smoking or Tobacco Use: The suction from dragging on a cigarette can dislodge the blood clot in the extraction site, resulting in a painful condition called dry socket (see below). The chemicals present in tobacco products may also prevent or slow healing by contaminating the wound site. Avoid use of tobacco products for at least 48 hours after tooth extraction. Refraining from tobacco use for up to a week is ideal.
Dry Socket: Dry socket is a painful condition after tooth extraction where the blood clot is dislodged from the healing socket. When the blood clot is lost, the bone and nerve are exposed to air, food, fluid, and anything else that enters the mouth.
Fortunately, dry socket is rare (only a very small percentage of patients develop dry socket after tooth extraction), it is treatable, and it rarely leads to serious complications. Patients can also take simple steps to prevent it.
Symptoms of dry socket include severe pain within the first few days after tooth extraction, and you may notice an “empty” looking socket with visible bone where a dark blood clot should be. Some patients experience bad breath, a foul odor, or an unpleasant taste. If you develop new or worsening pain in the first few days after tooth extraction, contact your dentist for follow up care.
Prevent dry socket by avoiding any suction forces on the extraction site. Avoid vigorous rinsing, swishing, or spitting for several days. Avoid sucking through straws. Smoking and tobacco use is strongly discouraged as it is a major risk factor for dry socket.
Rinses and Oral Hygiene: The day after surgery, you may start gentle rinses with warm salt water (about a ½ tsp of salt in a glass of warm water). Rinse twice daily and after meals to cleanse and soothe the tissues for up to 2 weeks after surgery. Do not swish or spit vigorously, simply allow the rinse to gently roll around your mouth and fall out into the sink. Your normal oral hygiene routine can be resumed the next day, just be very gentle around the extraction sites and avoid vigorous swishing or spitting.
Sutures: Your dentist will let you know if any sutures (stitches) were needed after your tooth extraction and if a follow up appointment will be needed to remove them.
Boney Fragments: Sometimes, small fragments of bone can work their way out from the extraction site during healing. This is normal and not cause for concern. These fragments will often work their way out on their own, or your dentist can remove them for you.