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What are the reasons for tooth extraction?

Most often, your dentist has referred you for tooth extraction because he or she has determined that the tooth is too damaged to be saved or an attempt to save the tooth would be unpredictable in the long term.  


What are my options for anesthesia/sedation during my extractions?

Please refer to the “anesthesia options” section of the website for extensive information regarding this topic (link below).

How are dental extractions performed?

Many times, simple dental extractions are able to be performed with forceps (pliers) only (i.e. no gum incision is necessary).  If the tooth is broken down or difficult to remove, a small incision in the gum (with occasional sectioning of the tooth) is necessary to remove the tooth.  This is known as a surgical extraction. If this is the case, dissolvable sutures will be placed.


Should I have a bone graft after my tooth or teeth extraction?

After tooth extraction the jaw bone resorbs (decreases) in the area naturally over time.  If there is any chance you may be interested in future dental implant placement into the site after the extraction, a bone graft is usually recommended.  Dental implants require a minimum amount of bone to be placed properly and predictably.  Bone grafting at the time of extraction can help ensure there is enough bone present in the future for implant placement.  


If I have stitches, how long will the stitches take to dissolve?

The exact time varies from person to person, but typically the sutures will dissolve or fall out within 1-2 weeks.  


What are the risks of tooth extraction?

As with anything in life, there are risks to dental extraction; however, the benefits of extracting a broken down tooth almost always outweigh the risks.  The risks of dental extractions are usually very minor and complications are rare. The risks will be discussed during the informed consent process. Risks can include bleeding, infection, dry socket, and sinus communication.


What is a sinus communication?

A sinus communication is a rare complication of having an upper tooth extracted.  The roots of the upper teeth are positioned very near (or within) a hollow air-filled space that every person has near their cheek bones called the maxillary sinus.  If the roots of the extracted tooth extended into this space, there could be a communication (hole) between your mouth and the sinus. This is a very rare event and usually heals without any additional surgery necessary. Less than 1% of the time, a small additional procedure may be necessary to correct this.

What should I expect after my extractions?

Tooth removal is a minor surgical procedure, but a surgical procedure nonetheless.  Some discomfort and possibly some swelling is normal after the procedure. If the extraction is simple, the discomfort and swelling will be very minor.  More complicated extractions can sometimes result in more discomfort, although this is usually short-lived. You will have gauze in your mouth after the procedure.  It is normal to saturate several sets of gauze on the day of your procedure.  Some minor oozing may continue for up to 24 hours from your extraction sockets.  See below for more information in the post op instructions section.

Should I brush my teeth after teeth extractions?

Yes.  You should brush your teeth as you normally would, just avoid brushing over the extraction sites.  Maintaining excellent oral hygiene will help prevent infection of the extraction sites and help the healing process.

How long do extraction sites take to heal?

Your discomfort should mostly resolve within 2-4 days, and you may return to eating normal foods.  However, the body’s healing process is not completed by this time. The gums will usually completely cover the site within 6 weeks.


What if my pain persists or gets worse several days after extractions?

This could be a sign of a dry socket.  Please notify our office and I will be happy to evaluate you on the same day.  


What is a dry socket?

A dry socket is a condition where the blood clot abnormally dissolves from the extraction socket leaving an empty socket.  It is not an infection, but the exact reasons this occurs are not known. A dry socket causes soreness in the area.  Medicated rinses are used to treat a dry socket. The problem usually resolves within 1 week.

Does smoking affect tooth extraction?

Yes.  The adverse effects of smoking on the mouth are numerous and last up to 6 weeks after the last cigarette is used.  Smoking within 6 weeks before extraction or within 1 month after the extraction places the patient at increased risk for infection, delayed healing, dry socket, and increased pain.


Will there be a follow up appointment?

You will be scheduled for a follow up visit approximately 1 week after your procedure. Please know that I will be happy to see you on any day after the extraction if you have any problems or questions.  The complication rate is so low after tooth extractions that many times if you are feeling well you may not feel that a follow up is necessary. In the event you do not wish to attend your follow up visit, please let our office know at least 24 hours in advance.  


Can I get an implant at the same time as tooth extraction?

Please see the implant section of the website for extensive discussion on this topic (link below).


What are the options for tooth replacement after an extraction?

Your dentist will talk to you about this topic in detail and will discuss your different options.  In short, there are many different options for tooth replacement but not every patient is a good candidate for every option.  These options can including dentures, partial dentures, bridges, or dental implants. At Louisiana OIS, dental implants are an important part of our practice.  See the implant section of the website for more information on dental implants (Link below).

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