REMOVAL OF TEETH

Patients scheduled to have teeth removed should be familiar with certain information. If there are further questions please do not hesitate to ask.

  1. WHY ARE TEETH REMOVED? Teeth have to be removed for many reasons. The most common reasons include: extensive tooth decay, impaction, severe gum (periodontal) disease, fractures, severe attrition (wearing down), non-function (dysfunction), retained primary (baby) teeth and infections (abcesses). In addition, teeth have to be removed for orthodontic purposes because of crowding or deficient space to accommodate all the available teeth.
  2. HOW ARE TEETH REMOVED? The procedure for removing teeth often requires an incision in the gum and the use of forceps. In addition, it may require exposing and removing the bone around the tooth and often, sectioning the tooth into smaller pieces.
  3. CAN MY TEETH BE REMOVED PAINLESSLY? Yes! The most predictable way to control pain and anxiety (nervousness) is through the use of intravenous (IV) sedation (twilight sleep) or general anesthesia (complete sleep). For less anxious patients we offer local anesthesia (eg. Lidocaine) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
  4. WILL I BE MONITORED DURING MY SURGERY? All patients administered IV sedation or general anesthesia will be monitored with ongoing EKG, pulse oximetry (oxygen saturation of blood), blood pressure and heart rate machines. Your age and health status may also require monitoring and the use of nasal oxygen support.
  5. CAN THE PATIENT EAT PRIOR TO SURGERY? If a general anesthetic or intravenous (IV) sedation is planned, there should be no food or liquids taken for eight hours prior to the procedure. Eating prior to anesthesia can result in severe bodily harm. However, you should take your routine daily medicine prescribed by your doctor with a sip of water (Exception: blood thinners and insulin replacement).
  6. WHAT ARE THE ANESTHESIA RISKS? They may include nausea, inflammation of the veins (less than 5%), and allergic reactions [a rash, swelling, or even a medical emergency may occur, but that's extremely rare (less than .01%)].
  7. WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON PROBLEMS AFTER SURGERY?
    1. DISCOMFORT: May require prescription pain medications. Persistent soreness is often present for several days.
    2. SWELLING: Takes about 2-3 days to reach its peak. Then, subsides over the next week.
    3. DECREASED MOUTH OPENING: The jaw muscles often become stiff and limit the amount of mouth opening for several days. Rarely, the joint itself is affected. Mention it to your surgeon if it is persistent.
    4. BLEEDING: Some mild oozing is normal for up to 24 hours. There may be slight bleeding from the area when you brush your teeth for the first week.
    5. INFECTION: Infections are rare during the first few days after surgery. If an infection does occur, it is more likely 4 to 8 weeks after surgery. Treatment is usually uncomplicated, but you should see your surgeon.
    6. PAINFUL TOOTH SOCKET: Loss of the blood clot may cause throbbing pain and a delay in healing. This is easily treated with a medicated dressing.
    7. NUMBNESS: Teeth may be in close proximity to the nerves that supply sensation to the teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, chin and lips. Occasionally these nerves are injured when the tooth is removed, causing numbness and tingling. If this happens, the nerve usually repairs itself. In some cases, numbness is permanent.
    8. SINUS INJURY: Because upper (back) posterior teeth are near the sinus cavity, the removal of these teeth may cause an opening (hole) in the sinus cavity. The sinus usually heals, but further treatment may be necessary.
    9. RETURN TO WORK/SCHOOL: Most people go back to work/school in 2-3 days, however, it depends on how you feel and the physical nature of your activities. It may take a gradual progression of 7-10 days to get back to peak performance in physical activities.

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