If you’re facing the possibility of tooth extractions, you may be feeling anxious and worried. Unfortunately, many people get overly worked up for what is commonplace worldwide. Pulling teeth is the treatment solution used for most cases of impacted molars.

What to Expect

Despite preconceived notions, extractions aren’t too painful. We will numb the area around the tooth and provide nitrous oxide, aka laughing gas, if you need it. With the combination of these or just an anesthetic, the pain reduces to a sensation of pressure and mild discomfort.

However, with any surgery, you’ll be sore after. Typically, over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as acetaminophen can temper postoperative pains. In addition to OTC’s, there are several self-care practices you can take, such as:

  • Icing the area
  • Lots of rest
  • Prop up your head while lying down
  • Only eat soft, cool foods
  • Warm compresses
Cataloochee Dental Group tooth extractions

Dry Socket

While rare, this is the most common complication of extractions but is avoidable. Under proper precautions, this shouldn’t occur. However, if you don’t take the time to follow three easy techniques, you may develop this condition.

A dry socket forms when a blood clot from the operation becomes dislodged, exposing the bone, nerves, and soft tissues beneath. Since they’re unprotected, the dislodgment can lead to infections along with other complications.

However, in some cases, the blood clot refuses to form. This phenomenon puzzles scientists and dentists. The working consensus is bacterial contamination from food, drinks, or other substances entering the mouth post-surgery. Lastly, blunt trauma can lead to dry socket syndrome; avoid accidents the best you can.

Try avoiding dry socket with salt water is a very effective method. Food particles can get caught in the socket. A mild saltwater solution gently swished about the mouth promotes healing and clears out those pesky particles—emphasizing gently, as a forceful gargle can cause this condition.

Our second pro tip is to alter your diet for the following several days after surgery. Try more yogurts, applesauce, and foods of that nature, as they don’t have jagged edges or present a chewy challenge.

Our last tip is to avoid brushing, flossing, and straws. While you should maintain proper oral hygiene for all other teeth, bristles and floss can dislodge the clot. The pressure causing by sucking and slurping is enough to loosen the clot, causing dry socket. Avoid getting too close to the sore, tender socket.

One more bonus tip suitable for all post-surgery recovery is rest. Increased activity and heart rate can slow the body’s natural healing response. We always recommend laying low the day or so.

Risk Factors

Three things that you control can determine if you’re at greater risk. Avoid smoking (or any tobacco products), oral contraceptives, and improperly caring for the wound. Chemicals in tobacco products are, of course, harmful to soft tissues and your health, while birth control pills can disrupt the healing process.

Treating Dry Socket

Treating this condition can take several forms. Most commonly, by removing particles caught in the socket, pain is significantly reduced. In addition, taking an OTC in conjunction with cleaning helps many of our patients.

Depending on the severity, it may wrap with gauze with a liberal amount of medicated gel which numbs the pain. You can expect a follow-up appointment about a week after the surgery to ensure healing is underway and no complications have arisen.

Need More Information on Tooth Extractions?

Our office specializes in all forms of dentistry, whether cosmetic, emergency or general care, our staff delivers top-notch care. Contact us today for more information or to set an appointment. We can’t wait to meet you.