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Prior to a tooth extraction, your dentist will numb the area to lessen any discomfort. After the extraction, your dentist will advise you of what post extraction regimen to follow, in most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal. Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing. It is usually best not to smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities could dislodge the clot and delay healing.
For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently. For pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag. Ask your dentist about pain medication. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual. But don't clean the teeth next to the tooth socket. If the pain or swelling persist or you don't think you are healing, be sure to contact your dentist for a follow-up visit.
Even though most dental extractions proceed without any complications, some can occur. The most likely problems include pain, bleeding, infection, swelling, broken root tips, and bone chips and fragments.
Most people who have had a tooth extracted know that a certain degree of pain and bleeding is normal. Pain that lasts for up to a week or so but is gradually improving and bleeding that continues for up to 12-24 hours but is slowing down should be considered typical and will most likely not require follow-up care. Pain that seems to be getting worse after two days should be considered abnormal and may require
evaluation by the dentist. Pain that increases after a dental extraction might be due to a dry socket, usually treated by the dentist rinsing the socket with an antiseptic mouth rinse, packing the area with a medicated dressing and putting the patient on pain medication. Another problem is bleeding that lasts for more than twenty four hours or is increasing several hours after the extraction. This may point to a serious problem that requires prompt attention from the dentist. Prolonged bleeding may occur if there is damage to a blood vessel or other tissue during an extraction, if a patient is taking certain medications or has a predisposing medical condition. Excessive bleeding can also be caused by a patient rinsing, spitting, or smoking after a dental extraction.
To stop the bleeding, a dentist can pack and stitch the socket closed.
An infection and swelling are also potential complications from a dental extraction. An infection can be caused if debris or bacteria gets into the socket. Swelling is usually due to the trauma of having the tooth extracted, or can occur from a spreading infection. Swelling can be reduced by salt water rinses (after 24 hours) and an ice compress. Infections and swelling are usually treated by the dentist with rinsing the socket, antibiotics, and in some cases draining the infection
Broken root tips, bone chips and fragments are fairly common complications following a dental extraction. A small uninfected root tip can sometimes be left inside the jaw after a dental extraction if its removal might be too difficult or cause too much trauma for the patient. Often root tips, bone chips and fragments will work their way out on their own, but may also need some help from the dentist to remove them completely. An infected root tip stuck in the jaw bone will require surgical removal. Problems with dental extractions are fairly common, but can be minimized and resolved by a dentist experienced in oral surgery.
There are certain risks associated with both simple and surgical tooth extractions. The most common risk is infection, but as long as you follow your dentist’s instructions, you should be able to avoid this. A dry socket is another risk associated with tooth extraction. When you have a tooth removed, blood usually clots inside the open socket, sealing off the bone underneath. If this doesn’t happen, your bone will be left exposed and that can be extremely painful. If you develop a dry socket, you’ll need to see your dentist to get proper treatment. Other possible risks include damage to surrounding teeth and nerves, which could cause extended numbness. To help avoid complications following your procedure, practice good oral hygiene, but don’t clean teeth next to an open socket. Use ice to minimize swelling and avoid rinsing your mouth for at least 24 hours.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.