At our Langley dental office, we do everything we can to protect and preserve your natural teeth. However, there are times when a dental tooth extraction is the only practical and viable option, and we want you to know what you can expect, including the do’s and don’ts for caring for the dental extraction site.
A dental tooth extraction may be necessary if there is injury or trauma, severe decay, infection, your mouth is overcrowded, or the tooth is not fixable.
Preparing for Dental Tooth Extractions at our Langley Office
Before we can schedule a general dentistry surgery appointment at our Langley clinic for the extraction, we will first take an X-ray of the tooth and discuss your dental and medical history with the dentist. A tooth extraction may seem like a simple dentistry procedure – and it usually is – certain medical conditions, dental emergencies and other issues may cause complications down the road.
It’s important to tell the dentist about:
Any medications you are taking as well as over-the-counter drugs, supplements and vitamins.
Any other medical procedures that you have scheduled. If a medical procedure involves the use of bisphosphonate, an intravenous drug, we will need to do the tooth extraction first. Otherwise, you will be at risk of bone death (osteonecrosis).
We should also know whether you have any of the following medical conditions:
If you have any of the above medical conditions, it’s important for them to be treated and under control before we perform any dental extractions. We may need to reschedule your surgery if any of these conditions are not under control or being treated. In some cases, we may prescribe antibiotics before the procedure.
Antibiotics are only recommended if:
You have impaired immune function
Your surgery will be lengthy or complex
You have a medical condition that warrants it
Most patients will not need antibiotics prior to the extraction. Antibiotics may be recommended after the procedure to prevent infection.
Prior to the Dental Procedure
Before the procedure, it’s important to follow our instructions to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Prior to the extraction:
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing if you will be receiving dental sedation
Avoid eating or drinking 6 hours before your appointment if you will be receiving sedation
Let us know if you have a cold or experienced nausea or vomiting the night before. You may need to reschedule the procedure
If you will be receiving oral sedation, make sure that you bring someone along to drive you home from our Langley clinic.
We will review all of these requirements before the surgery so that you know what to do and expect.
What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?
In most cases, dental tooth extractions are relatively quick in dentistry but the length of time will depend on the type of dental extraction that needs to be performed:
Simple: A local anesthetic is applied to numb the area around the tooth. You may feel pressure, but not pain, during the procedure. We will use a special instrument called a dental “elevator” to loosen your tooth and forceps to remove it.
Surgical: Complicated tooth extractions are considered surgical procedures. We may administer local and oral sedation. The sedation is meant to keep you comfortable, as we will be making small incisions into your gum. We may also need to cut your tooth or remove the bone around your tooth before extracting it. This can be quite common with root canaled teeth because of the fragility of the root.
While oral sedation is typically reserved for dental surgical teeth extractions or wisdom teeth, we encourage you to share your preferences with us. We want to make the dentistry procedure as easy and stress-free as possible, and we will do our best to accommodate your preferences.
Once your tooth has been extracted, the surrounding teeth will begin to shift and move. If left unchecked, this can lead to dental complications with chewing or jaw function in the future. We may recommend replacing your missing tooth or teeth with a dental implant, dental bridge or partial denture. We wil review the surgery and your options before the extraction.
Potential Risks if you Require Tooth Extractions
Like any other dental procedure, teeth extractions do have risks. However, this is a procedure that is commonly performed, and if our dentist recommends it, the benefits will likely outweigh the risks. Most patients at our Langley clinic have no issues with recovery or complications.
The biggest risk with a tooth extraction is dry socket, which we will cover shortly. Other potential risks include:
Bleeding for more than 12 hours
Nausea or vomiting
Fever and chills (sign of an infection)
Redness and swelling at the extraction site
Shortness of breath or chest pain
Please call us if you experience any of these symptoms.
Dry Socket Oral Complication
The primary concern with a dental tooth extraction is dry socket. It’s rare, but it can happen in dentistry. Only about 2%-5% of people will experience dry socket after a tooth extraction.
What is Dry Socket?
When a tooth is removed, a blood clot normally forms to protect your gums and the hole in your gums as your mouth starts to heal. Sometimes, that clot either doesn’t form or becomes dislodged. This leaves your bone exposed and can cause quite a bit of pain.
Researchers still don’t know why the clot doesn’t form for some people. Bacterial contamination from food or drink may be the culprit. The blood clot can also become dislodged while brushing (the bristles may dislodge the clot) or from trauma to the area. If left untreated, dry socket can lead to other dentistry complications, such as infection so please don’t hesitate to contact our team if you suspect you have dry socket.
How Do You Know if You Have Dry Socket?
One tell-tale sign of a dry socket is a throbbing pain in the jaw that just won’t go away. The pain may radiate outward to your neck or ears. Usually, the pain is only felt on the same side as the dental extraction site. Dry socket can also cause an unpleasant taste in your mouth or bad breath.
You can visually check for dry socket. While standing in front of a mirror, open your mouth and check the extraction site. If you can see a large open hole, there’s a good chance that you have dry socket. Pain will usually develop within the first few days after dental surgery, but it may develop later on.
What are the Risk Factors for Dry Socket?
Anyone can develop dry socket, but the risk is higher if:
You’ve had dry socket in the past. Let us know if you have a history of this complication.
You smoke. Smoking cigarettes can dislodge the clot, and the chemicals can contaminate the wound.
You don’t take proper care of the wound. Following our dentistry instructions for at-home dental care is crucial. Failing to practice good oral hygiene can also increase your risk of dry socket while your body is healing.
If you are experiencing severe pain after tooth removal or wisdom teeth removal, it’s important to contact us as soon as possible. We can determine whether you have dry socket and the best course of action to take for treatment.
Dental x-rays may be needed to check for bone infection or other possible causes of your pain. If you do have dry socket, we will clean the socket. The cleaning alone should help with the pain and may help prevent infection. We may apply a medicated dental gel to numb the pain, and we may also pack the socket with gauze.
We will also provide instructions on what to do with the gauze after you get home. You may need to clean the socket again and rinse with a saltwater solution. In cases of severe dry socket, a new gauze may need to be applied at home. We may recommend taking over-the-counter pain medications to help ease discomfort from the extracted tooth. If the pain is severe, we may prescribe a painkiller.
What Happens if Dry Socket Isn’t Treated?
Although dentistry complications are rare (when treated), dry socket can cause issues if you do not see a dentist to address the problem. Dental complications can include:
Infection in the socket
Infection in the bone
What to eat after having your tooth extracted?
Stick with soft meats like salmon, or slow cooked chicken which are essential in giving your body the energy to start repairing the wound
Instant oatmeals are a great source of fibre and contain vitamins and minerals
Cottage cheese is soft and creamy and packed with minerals and vitamins
Chickpeas with humus or any other base is an excellent source of plant protein
Smoothies with vegetables, fruits, protein powders can be very easy to consume and nutritious. Avoid fruits like strawberries which have seeds that can become lodged in the extraction site
Avocados while being great for fats are also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and potassium
Bananas can be mashed to make them extra soft and are high in Potassium, Vitamin B6, folate and Manganese
Pureed kids pouches are easy and quick to consume if you need them in a pinch
Scrambled eggs are higg quality proteins rich in vitamins and minerals
Mashed potatoes are fantastic root vegetables but make they are not too hot so they don’t irritate the wound site and are easy on teeth
Greek yogurts which are high in Calcium, Zinc, proteins and minerals are easily digestible and are great for wound healing
Broths and soups are a great way to stay hydrated while also getting the vitamins and minerals you need for a speedy recovery
What not to eat or drink after removing a tooth in our Langley clinic:
Spicy foods – there is a high probability of inflammation and irritation to the extraction site
Any food that has grains or seeds – including items like Chia seeds, Blackberries and Strawberries
Alcohol – it just doesn’t mix well with the medications we may prescribe in dentistry and can slow healing
Chewy foods - Because of the high probability of biting your cheek or lips while frozen
Chips and cookies or similar foods – They can get lodged in the extraction site and disrupt or delay healing
Recovery and At-Home Dentistry Care
Although tooth extraction surgery is a simple procedure (in most cases), you will still need a few days to recover. At-home care will play an important role in whether or not your dental recovery goes smoothly. Following the procedure:
We will place a gauze pad over the extraction site. Once the gauze is placed, bite down to help with clot formation and slow the bleeding. We ask that you keep the gauze in place for 3-4 hours after the extraction or until the pad is saturated with blood.
To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to your cheek for 10 minutes at a time.
Relax and allow yourself to recover. Give yourself at least 24 hours before easing back into your normal routine.
Take any prescribed dentistry medications.
Don’t rinse or spit for 24 hours after the procedure. Spit gently instead of rinsing.
Avoid any teeth whitening products
Keep brushing or flossing, but avoid the extraction area.
Prop your head up when you sleep.
After the first 24 hours, rinse out your mouth with a saltwater solution.
Eat soft foods for the first few days. Wait a few days before starting to reintroduce other foods.
If you experience pain that doesn’t fade after a few days or you’re experiencing signs of dental infection – such as fever, chills or pus – contact us as soon as possible to make an appointment.
Restoring Your Smile
When a tooth is extracted, it’s important to replace it. If you don’t replace the missing tooth, the surrounding teeth will begin to shift and move. Eventually, this can lead to chewing or jaw TMD issues that may need appliance or therapeutic Botox therapy. As a cosmetic dental office we may recommend dental implants if you are having an extraction surgery. Implants look and feel natural, which makes them a popular choice for tooth replacement.
Overall, dental implants have many benefits, including:
The ability to eat harder and crunchier foods without discomfort or issue
Helping prevent bone loss and the loss of another tooth or teeth.
Greater resistance to cavities
Because they look and feel natural, dental implants can also help you feel more confident when smiling. While there are many advantages to dental implants, they aren’t always the right choice for everyone.
Alternatives to implants can include:
At our Langley office we will discuss your options and help you determine which one will be the right choice for your dental health.
If you need a tooth extraction, we encourage you to book a consultation. During your consultation, we will answer your questions about teeth removal and review the costs.