Tooth extraction, getting one or even multiple teeth removed, can be an extremely daunting experience. It’s definitely not at the top of anyone’s bucket list! However, it can be a necessary part of maintaining your oral and dental health. There are a few reasons that a person might need to have a tooth removed. The most common reasons include: trauma or decay, crowded teeth, infection, gum disease, or even a compromised immune system. Maintaining regular proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, will give you the best chance of avoiding the need to have any of your teeth removed.
Depending on the location of the tooth and the reason for the extraction, one patient’s tooth removal can be drastically different when compared to another patient’s. This article will illustrate the difference between simple and complex extractions to aid you in understanding the full explanation your dentist gives you of what work needs to be done.
Generally speaking, a complex extraction refers to the removal of any tooth that is hard to reach, located in an awkward place in the mouth, or has issues that make the service more complicated such as deep rot down to the root or being impacted from neighboring teeth.These situations are significantly more difficult than a normal removal procedure and are labeled accordingly. Because these take more labor and skill, you can also count on them often costing more, as well.
On the other hand, a simple extraction is generally when any tooth that is towards the front of your mouth is removed and there aren’t any extenuating circumstances. If it isn’t a molar or wisdom tooth then chances are that you’re looking at a simple procedure as opposed to a complex one.
When it comes to looking at the differences between simple and complex extractions, you’ll quickly see that it’s not just about price. A complex or simple extraction directly affects how much pain and swelling you may experience later during your recovery; as well as how much time you will need in order to recover.
After a tooth extraction, it’s especially important to practice proper dental hygiene. If you’re not careful, you may experience dry socket, which occurs when the nerve is exposed to air. Dry socket is actually much more painful than the tooth extraction itself.
Here’s how to best recover after an extraction.
Avoid rinsing the day of and the day after surgery. The following day you may rinse gently with warm salt water, being careful not to disturb the clot formation at the surgery site. Continue the warm salt water rinsing until the extraction site is healed completely.
Avoid actually brushing over the extracted tooth site. You can wipe it with a damp cloth or piece of gauze, but for the first week, it’s best to let the site heal on its own. A rinse is more than enough to keep the area clean. Some people struggle with brushing the rest of their teeth because of swelling, but a Peridex rinse is enough of a brushing alternative for a few days.
Some people experience severe swelling, particularly if all their wisdom teeth are removed in one surgery. Placing an ice pack on your face in the area where the surgery was performed will help reduce the swelling and can play a role in numbing pain, even just a little. You can begin using the ice pack as needed to reduce symptoms directly after surgery. Heat will help the jaw muscles relax more but is not recommended until the inflamed area has calmed down.
Expect the pain to increase for a couple of days, it should plateau at day three, and then start to decrease afterward. If pain increases after day three, call our office, you may have a dry socket or other trauma. In most cases, Motrin/Ibuprofen (200mg) is the best anti-inflammatory/pain reliever available. If you have an allergy, cannot take Motrin, or it makes your stomach hurt, please consult your physician for the best medication option.
If you’re prescribed antibiotics, make sure to take them in their entirety. Don’t stop when you begin feeling better, even though it may be tempting.
Avoid using any tobacco products! Nicotine will significantly slow down the formation of a good blood clot which is the first step in the healing process. Drawing on a cigarette can dislodge any clots that have begun to form and cause a dry socket. Refrain from any tobacco use for the first 24 hours after surgery, and try to minimize its use for another 48 hrs.
Healing can typically take about 2-4 weeks if good oral hygiene is maintained. During this period the gums will heal over and after that period the bone will continue to heal in under the gums for another two months.
Getting a tooth pulled may not be the most fun, but it can be made much easier by following these key steps. Go home and rest. Your body will respond better if you give it a chance to recuperate.