uptime-check Extractions - Dr. William LanzaDr. William Lanza

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Phone: (301) 654-7808
Fax: (301) 654-3177

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4330 East-West Hwy
#316 Bethesda, MD 20814

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A dental extraction is the removal of a tooth or teeth from the dental alveolus in the alveolar bone. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, but most commonly to remove teeth that have become unrestorable through tooth decay, periodontal disease, or dental trauma, especially when they are associated with toothache. Sometimes impacted wisdom teeth cause recurrent infections of the 

gum and may be removed when other conservative treatments have failed. In orthodontics, if the teeth are crowded, healthy teeth may be extracted to create space so the rest of the teeth can be straightened.

A thorough medical history will be performed prior to any extraction and in some cases, Dr. Lanza may have to consult with your physician.  

As your mouth heals from your extraction, some side effects can occur. These side effects are only temporary. They include:

  • Swelling
  • Minor pain
  • Bleeding
  • Tenderness
  • Soreness

No matter what your specific reason maybe, if you’re having a tooth extracted you may be wondering what to expect, and how long it will take to recover from your extraction. Here are a few things to keep in mind during post-op care:

The First 24 Hours

During the first 24 hours after your tooth has been extracted, several things will occur. Blood clots will begin to form, and the sutures in your mouth will help the tissue begin to heal.

You will likely experience some minor pain and bleeding during the first 24 hours of your recovery process. Typically, you’ll be given a prescription for a pain reliever and/or antibiotics to aid you through this process.

Usually, you’ll be able to return to non-strenuous activities, such as driving and working an office job, within a day of the surgery. However, athletic activities may be limited, and workers in active positions may need to take extra time off.

Swelling also tends to peak at around 24 hours post-surgery. This can be treated with ice packs applied externally to the face and should subside rather quickly. If pain and bleeding continue and persist for 2-3 days, see your dentist ensure there are no complications with your procedure.

1-2 Days Post Extraction

The first two days after your extraction require the most care, as this is when your mouth is doing a majority of its healing. It’s perfectly normal to experience a low-level amount of bleeding and some soreness at the extraction site. Since these two days are crucial to your extraction recovery, we suggest:

  • Getting plenty of rest: Expect to rest for at least the first 24 hours post-extraction.
  • Change gauze: Make sure to leave the first gauze in for a few hours to let the blood clot form. After that, you can change your gauze as often as necessary.
  • Take pain medication: Your doctor may prescribe you more powerful pain medication for larger extractions (like molars or wisdom teeth) depending on your medical history. However, in some cases, over-the-counter pain relievers are enough to help with any discomfort.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking through straws: The suction needed to puff on a cigarette or drink through a straw creates pressure in the mouth that can cause complications with your blood clot. It’s crucial to avoid both of these for the first few days of your healing process.
  • Elevate the head: When sleeping or resting, use additional pillows to prop your head up and avoid the pooling of blood in the mouth which can prolong healing time.

3 Days Post Extraction

After about 3 days, the empty tooth socket will have mostly healed. There should be no more bleeding present, and swelling should be minimal at this point. You may still experience some tenderness or soreness, but you should no longer feel pain or discomfort. During this stage of the healing process, it is important to keep the clot in place, which requires additional hygiene procedures including:

  • Saline rinses: Gently rinse your mouth with a saline solution or warm water with salt. This will help prevent bacteria from growing in the area and prevent infection from occurring.
  • Brush and floss: You may start to brush and floss your teeth as usual, but make sure to avoid the extraction site. The saline rinse or salt water will take care of cleaning the extraction area.
  • Eating soft foods: You should plan to eat soft foods throughout the healing process to avoid food getting trapped in the socket. Popular food choices include soups, yogurt, or applesauce.

1 Week Post Extraction

After about 7-10 days, your clot should be fully formed and in place. If you had stitches placed, they will be removed if they were non-dissolving. If they were dissolving stitches, they’ll disappear on their own. If pain or bleeding are occurring during this stage of the healing process, contact the office to see if you need to come in for a follow-up appointment.

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