There are many types of extractions. They are categorized as 1. simple 2. surgical 3. impacted, soft tissue 4. impacted, partial bony and 5. impacted, full bony. A simple exam can determine this. When the tooth involved is a wisdom tooth, sedation may be offered to minimize discomfort for the patient. A consultation will address all of these issues.
Bleeding is normal after a tooth extraction and may last about a day. The dentist will apply a gauze pad on the extraction site. The pad needs to be left in place for about 30 to 45 minutes. After this time, it can be replaced. As long as bleeding continues, a damp gauze pad needs to be applied to the area. These should be replaced regularly, before they become saturated in blood.
Pain, swelling or jaw stiffness generally lasts no more than a couple of days after the procedure. Dentists may give a prescription for pain medications or recommend an over-the-counter pain medication, although these are often not necessary for simple extractions. The dentist may also prescribe antibiotics if there is a high risk of infection. After the first day, a cool cloth, ice bag or warm compress may be used to help relieve swelling and stiffness.
Patients are generally urged to continue to floss and brush the unaffected teeth, but avoid the teeth directly around the extraction site for a few days. To keep the site clean, a gentle mouth rinse of warm salt water can be used several times a day after the first day. Patients are typically advised to stick to soft, bland foods (e.g., gelatin, pudding, soup) at first and to gradually add other foods as the area heals.
To prevent dry socket and reduce the healing time, patients are advised not to spit, drink through a straw or vigorously rinse their mouths for at least the first 24 hours following the procedure. Smoking needs to be avoided for at least several days after the extraction. These actions can result in the blood clot in the socket dislodging, which can cause severe pain. Patients are also frequently advised to avoid mouthwashes and touching, probing or otherwise disturbing the extraction site (e.g., with fingers or tongue) while the area heals.
While the mouth is still numb, the patient may inadvertently damage the soft tissues of the inner cheek, lip or tongue. To prevent this, patients are advised to avoid biting these areas. They should also generally avoid physical activity and lying flat, which can increase bleeding immediately after the extraction. Pillows can be used to prop up the head when lying down.
Patients are urged to contact their dentist if bleeding is heavy, continues for more than 24 hours or if they experience nausea, fever, chills or severe pain.
The video section has an animated instruction that may be helpful.