Comfortable Dental Extractions
Dr. Hedstrom always strives to preserve and restore the natural structure of your teeth. However, extensive disease, decay, or trauma may lead to a medically necessary tooth extraction. Dental extractions are required for a variety of reasons including: extensive tooth decay (cavities), impacted or symptomatic wisdom teeth, advanced periodontal disease, over-retained baby teeth, or severe crowding in order to help make space for orthodontic treatment (braces). We do most extractions here in our office, helping to avoid extra costs and time associated with a referral.
Wisdom teeth are your third molars, located in the very back of your mouth, and they usually begin to appear between the ages of 16-25. Wisdom teeth often grow unnoticed, but can begin to cause problems as they become larger. Some wisdom teeth are impacted and can affect the other teeth in your mouth. Because wisdom teeth are so far back in your mouth they are often difficult to keep clean so it is very easy for them to develop large cavities which, in turn, can become painful. While we do extract wisdom teeth in office, we will recommend an oral surgeon for more complicated procedures.
Replacing Missing Teeth
While our immediate concern is the short-term management of your care, we will also discuss your long-term plans for replacing missing teeth. Leaving a space is always an option, but spaces in your smile can create appearance and function challenges that are important to consider. Teeth slowly shift or migrate into open spaces and minimizing the effects of an unbalanced bite now can prevent issues later in life.
What to Expect
While it may be scary to hear that you need a tooth pulled, our compassionate dental team uses gentle techniques, modern technology, and anxiety-reducing sedatives. This ensures that our patients experience a pain-free extraction with minimal risk of complications.
The first step in the removal process is to tell Dr. Hedstrom if you’ll require anxiety-reducing sedatives, such as oral sedatives. If so, our dentists will write you a prescription for an oral sedative that you must pick up at a pharmacy of your choosing and take before your appointment.
Next, Dr. Hedstrom will administer a local anesthesia to numb the extraction site. Once you are relaxed and sufficiently numb, our dentists will skillfully remove the damaged tooth. Teeth extractions can be completed very quickly and painlessly.
After your tooth has been removed, our dentists will either pack the extraction site with gauze or close the wound with a few, small stitches. At this point, our dental team will monitor you to ensure that the sedatives are wearing off before letting a friend or family member drive you home.
What to tell your dentist before an extraction
In general, tooth extractions are very safe. However, there are some cases in which a patient should disclose past medical history to our dental team to ensure patient safety. For example, our dentists need to know if you have:
- Heart damage, a congenital heart defect, or heart valve replacement
- A suppressed or impaired immune system
- Cirrhosis–also known as liver disease
- Any artificial joints (e.g. hip, knee, or shoulder replacements)
- A history of bacterial endocarditis
If you have any of these conditions, please let our dental team know immediately. Knowing this information will help us mitigate complications, ensuring a safe and successful extraction.
Why Do I Need a Tooth Extraction?
In most cases, a tooth extraction is used only as a last resort if other restorative dental procedures are unsuccessful. Common reasons why you might need a tooth pulled include:
- Extensive dental decay
- A failed root canal
- Cracked or fractured tooth
- An antibiotic-resistant infection
- Risk of an infection spreading to the bloodstream (sepsis)
- Dental damage beyond repair
- Overcrowded teeth
- Impacted wisdom teeth
At Worcester Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry, our team prioritizes your health. Therefore, we will only recommend a tooth extraction if we have exhausted all other options. For some patients, tooth removal may be the best solution to improve their quality of life and save their oral health.
At Worcester Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry, we will also discuss the ways we can replace the tooth before moving forward. Dental implants, bridges, or dentures, may be good options for replacing the missing tooth and we will be sure to discuss the benefits of each of them as we figure out the best choice for you moving forward to restore your smile!
How to care for extraction site
Proper aftercare is extremely important following an extraction. To reduce the risk of infection and improve recovery:
- Take the recommended medication if needed
- Limit their activity for 24-72 hours after their extraction
- If the wound was packed with gauze, carefully change the pad every 30 minutes
- Avoid creating a vacuum in their mouth by sucking, spitting, swishing
- Do not drink through a straw for at least 24 hours after the procedure
- Do not smoke or chew tobacco products while the wound is healing
- Eat soft foods for a few days after the procedure
- Sleep with their heads propped up to prevent prolonged bleeding
- Gently apply an ice pack to the side of the face for ten minutes at a time to reduce swelling
- Continue to gently brush and floss teeth
Once the wound is fully healed, patients have a wide variety of tooth-replacement options to choose from, such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures. It is essential to replace a missing tooth to prevent damage to other teeth from biting forces/uneven pressure, avoid tilting or shifting of remaining teeth into the gap.
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1 West Boylston Street, Suite 203
Worcester, MA 01605