woman holding a tooth extraction with a smileWhile we do our best to try to save all your teeth, there are instances when it may become necessary to extract a tooth. Teeth may need to be extracted due to several reasons, such as:

  • Excessive damage or decay
  • Periodontal disease that causes teeth to become loose
  • Teeth that are cracked or broken beyond repair
  • Teeth that are incorrectly positioned in the mouth, such as an impacted tooth
  • Sometimes, one or more teeth must be extracted in preparation for orthodontic treatment


What happens during a tooth extraction?

Before the extraction, our team will numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic. During the extraction process, Dr. Harding may have to gently move the tooth around to loosen it from its socket before pulling it out using a specialized instrument. Some teeth may require sectioning, which means that the doctor sections the tooth into smaller pieces and removes the pieces one at a time. This procedure is used when a tooth is very firmly anchored in its socket or the socket cannot expand enough to remove it in a single piece.


Are extractions painful?

While you may feel some pressure during the extraction, you will not feel any pain, as the area will be numbed beforehand. You may feel some pain after the procedure once the anesthesia has worn off, in addition to some swelling. We will prescribe pain medication and you may apply an ice pack to the area to reduce swelling. Pain and inflammation usually subside after about 48 hours.


What about after-care?

Following the extraction, a blood clot must form to stop the bleeding and initiate the healing process. You will be asked to bite down on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the extraction to facilitate this. Once the blood clot forms, you must not disturb or dislodge the clot, so you must avoid rinsing the mouth vigorously, sucking on straws, smoking, or brushing the teeth adjacent to the extraction site for 72 hours. It’s best to take it easy for the next 24 hours to optimize the healing process.

After 24 hours, it is safe to resume your normal dental routine, including regular brushing and flossing. You should feel fully recovered after a couple of days and resume all your normal activities. Contact our office immediately if you develop heavy bleeding, severe pain, or if the swelling lasts longer than 2-3 days.


Can extracted teeth be replaced?

Removing a single tooth can lead to problems such as teeth shifting from their positions and difficulty with chewing. It may also affect your jaw joint, which can adversely impact your dental health. To prevent these complications, Dr. Harding will recommend replacement of the extracted tooth. Teeth may be replaced by a dental implant and crown, or with a partial denture.

To learn more about tooth extraction or to schedule an appointment at Dentistry of West Bend, contact our office at (262) 334-0316 and speak to our friendly office staff.