A tooth that is severely damaged may need to be removed. Before removing your tooth, we will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. A stronger, general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your teeth need to be removed.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. You can gently bite down on a cotton gauze pad placed over the wound to help stop the bleeding. The removed tooth can be replaced with an implant, a denture, or a bridge. A bridge is a replacement for one or more (but not all) of the teeth and may be permanent or removable.
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. The following will help speed recovery:
- Take pain medication
- After 24 hours, rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (237 mL)] of warm water.
- Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Avoid smoking.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue.
- Continue to carefully brush your teeth and tongue.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time, and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed.
Why It Is Done
Removing a tooth is necessary when decay or an abscessed tooth is so severe that no other treatment will cure the infection. Removing the tooth can help keep infection from spreading to other areas of your mouth.
Some dental work can cause bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. People who have a hard time fighting off infections may need to take antibiotics before and after dental surgery. Such people include those who have artificial heart valves and those who were born with heart defects.