Tooth Extractions in Beckley, Summersville, & Webster Springs, WV

Need a Problem Tooth Pulled? Trust Dr. Lucky for Tooth Extractions

Having a tooth pulled in adulthood is sometimes necessary. Trust Kevin C. Lucky, DDS PLLC in Beckley, Summersville, and Webster Springs for professional tooth extractions in West Virginia.

A Number of Reasons for Tooth Extractions

While permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be required. Despite the many oral health interventions and dental repair services available today, a very common reason for extraction involves a tooth that is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay. Other reasons include:

A CROWDED MOUTH

Sometimes dentists pull teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontia. The goal of orthodontia is to properly align the teeth, which may not be possible if your teeth are too big for your mouth. Likewise, if a tooth cannot break through the gum (erupt) because there is not room in the mouth for it, your dentist may recommend pulling it.

INFECTION & RISK OF INFECTION

If tooth decay or damage extends to the pulp (the center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels) bacteria in the mouth can enter the pulp, leading to infection. Often this can be corrected with root canal therapy (RCT), but if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or RCT do not cure it, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection. If your immune system is compromised (for example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or are having an organ transplant), even the risk of infection in a particular tooth may be reason enough to pull the tooth.

PERIODONTAL (GUM) DISEASE

If periodontal disease, an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth, has caused loosening of the teeth, it may be necessary to pull the tooth or teeth.

What Might You Expect With Tooth Extraction?

You may expect your tooth extraction to be done by the dentist or oral surgeon (dentist with special training to perform surgery). Before pulling the tooth, your dentist will give you an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. If you are having more than one tooth pulled or if a tooth is impacted, your dentist may use a stronger, general anesthetic. This will prevent pain throughout your body and make you sleep through the procedure.

If a tooth is impacted, the dentist must cut away the gum tissue covering the tooth in order to remove it. There may be some rocking back and forth to loosen it from the jawbone and ligaments holding it in place. If a tooth is especially hard to pull, it may be removed in pieces.

Once the tooth has been pulled, a blood clot usually forms in the socket. The dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket and have you bite down on it to help stop the bleeding. Depending on the circumstance, the dentist may place a few, often self-dissolving, stitches to close the gum edges over the extraction site.

If the blood clot in the socket happens to break loose and expose the bone, it can cause a painful condition called “dry socket”. Your dentist may place a sedative dressing over the open socket for a few days. This dressing protects the space as a new clot forms and healing continues.

Important Information to Tell Your Dentist Before Having a Tooth Pulled

Having a tooth pulled is generally a very safe procedure; however, it allows harmful bacteria into the bloodstream, and gum tissue is also at risk of infection. If you have a medical condition that puts you at high risk for developing a severe infection, you may need to take antibiotics before and after the extraction.

Let your dentist know of your complete medical history before having a tooth pulled. This includes the medications and important supplements you take. Also let the dentist know if you have any of the following:

  • ARTIFICAL JOINT, SUCH AS A HIP REPLACEMENT
  • CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT
  • DAMAGED/MAN-MADE HEART VALVES
  • HISTORY OF BACTERIAL ENDOCARDITIS
  • IMPAIRED IMMUNE SYSTEM
  • LIVER DISEASE (CIRRHOSIS)

After You’ve Had a Tooth Pulled

After you have had a tooth pulled, the dentist will send you home to recover. Recovery from a tooth extraction typically takes a few days and there can be some minor discomfort. Try the following to help minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed recovery.

  • Take painkillers as prescribed.
  • Bite firmly, but gently, on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for three to four hours after the tooth is extracted.
  • Apply an ice bag to the affected area immediately after the procedure to keep down swelling. Apply ice for up to ten minutes at a time.
  • Relax for the first 24 hours after the extraction and limit activity for the next day or two. This avoids putting stress on the tender area.
  • Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extractions to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket. Remember, keeping the clot in place avoids the problem of “dry socket”, that can occur if the clot is displaced.
  • After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
  • Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
  • Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the extraction. Add solid foods gradually to your diet as the extraction site heals.
  • When lying down, prop your head with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid disturbing the extraction site. Doing so will help prevent infection.

When to Call the Dentist After a Tooth Extraction

Pain will be felt as the anesthesia and numbing medication wears off. It is also normal to have swelling and residual bleeding for the first 24 hours after a tooth extraction. If either bleeding or pain is still very severe more than four hours after your tooth is pulled, please call your dentist. You should also call your dentist if you experience any of the following:

  • Any sign of infection, including fever and chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Redness, swelling, or excessive discharge from the affected area
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

During the initial healing period of one to two weeks after the extraction, new bone and gum tissue will grow into the gap. Over time, having one or more teeth missing can cause the remaining teeth to shift. This can affect your bite and make it difficult to chew. For this reason, your dentist may advise replacing the missing tooth or teeth with an implant, fixed bridge, or denture appliance.