Once decay has deeply invaded a tooth or infection has destroyed such a large portion of the tooth that nothing else can be done to save it, an extraction is the solution. Other conditions that can warrant an extraction can be when the surrounding bone has been affected or when there is simply not enough room in the mouth for all of the teeth. Sometimes it is recommended that a partially erupted tooth be extracted to prevent the risk of bacteria entering around the tooth and causing infection which can then be spread in to the surrounding bone and become much more serious.
Before any teeth are extracted, you will have a thorough examination with Dr. Fukuda of your dental and medical histories. A dental x-ray may also be taken- this will help reveal the length, shape and position of the teeth and surrounding bone structure. This x-ray will also determine the involvement of the extraction, whether it be simple or surgical. Before a tooth is extracted, the area will be anesthetized with local anesthetic to numb the area. Once the extraction/extractions are completed, it may be necessary to close the area with a stitch or two.
The most crucial advice for after-care is to keep the area clean. This will help to prevent infection. For 48 hours after extractions have been done, there are some important things to remember- no smoking, no alcohol (including mouthwash) of any kind, nothing hot, no drinking through a straw. No vigorous rinsing should be done and do not clean the area around the extraction site with a toothbrush. Avoid any strenuous activity also as any of these actions can cause clots to break loose resulting in a very painful condition known as dry sockets. There will likely be some discomfort after extractions- in most cases a prescription pain reliever will be prescribed to you by Dr. Fukuda. Applying an ice pack to your face for 15 minutes at a time can also alleviate some discomfort. Under normal circumstances, discomfort should improve within 3 days and continue to decrease over the course of 2 weeks. If the pain persists, or there is swelling, fever or excessive bleeding, call the office immediately.