Tooth extraction – your questions answered

Tooth extraction – your questions answeredTooth extraction-your questions answered

So many people have many questions about tooth extractions, in this blog post we seek to answer some of those most common concerns.

Is it safe to exercise after tooth extraction? Why or why not?

After you have had a tooth extracted it’s best to avoid strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours. After you have had a tooth extracted it will naturally bleed, this bleeding is controlled by your body via a blood clot. If you exercise rigourously then you will increase your heart rate and blood pressure, this could dislodge the blood clot which could start the bleeding again. You may then find you need to wait awhile before exercising in order to stop the bleeding.

How long does it take to heal after a tooth extraction?

You should find that bleeding stops quite quickly, typically within a few hours. The healing process has begun!

You will find it takes a few months for the wounds to heal over completely, however you should notice that any discomfort is gone within a week or so.

Is it okay if I leave food in my tooth extraction hole?

No. We recommend avoiding chewing food for 24 hours after a tooth extraction in order to avoid this. Stick to more liquid diets such as soup for this period. After 24 hours it is usually safe to rinse your mouth out with mouthwash to dislodge any food which is caught in the extraction hole.

Once the extraction site starts to heal you can gently brush the area with a soft toothbrush in order to remove food from the hole. If you leave food here it will begin to decay which could lead to gum disease, not to mention smelly breath!

How soon after a tooth extraction can a bridge be placed?

Your dentist will usually want to wait about six months after the tooth has been extracted before placing a bridge. This is to give the socket full time to heal. When you have a tooth removed there is a hole, what happens is that the bone surrounding the hole falls in to fill it. This can result in an overall loss of bone height in this area.

If bridges are placed to early this bone loss process may not have finished, the result is that the bridge can touch the gum when it is placed but as the resorption process continues the gum will tend to move away from the underside of the bridge creating a gap.

This is one reason why many dentists prefer dental implants as these can be placed into the hole where the tooth was and prevent this bone resorption.

Is it OK to eat spicy food after a tooth extraction?

Whether the food is spicy or not will make no difference at all. We do however recommend that you stick to a more liquid and soft diet for at least 24 hours after a tooth has been extracted, this gives very blood clot time to form.

Can you drink after a tooth extraction?

Yes, but we recommend avoiding rinsing out or spitting forcefully for at least 24 hours. Try not to swill the drink around your mouth and just drink carefully. After 24 hours a salt water mouthwash gently swilled around your mouth can help.

How painful is it to have a tooth extraction?

Your dentist will always give you a local anaesthetic for the tooth extraction, this means the actual process is virtually painless. As the anaesthetic wears off you may find some discomfort which can usually be eased with over-the-counter painkillers.

If the pain continues you should go back to your dentist as they may be able to offer you stronger options.

If you have pain Immediately after teeth extraction and once the local anesthetic has worn off you may find that an ice pack held against the outside of your cheek can help to reduce any existing pain.

Can you get dry socket with stitches? How can it be prevented?

A dry socket happens when there is partial or complete loss of the blood clot. The blood clot helps to protect the underlying bone and nerves from the oral environment, so losing the blog clot exposes them and can be extremely painful.

To prevent a dry socket it’s best to avoid anything which could dislodge the blood clot, this includes excessive exercise, rinsing your mouth out and spitting, eating solid foods… These should all be avoided for at least 24 hours.

Why have I still got pain weeks after tooth extraction?

If you still have pain many weeks after the tooth has been extracted they could be a variety of causes. If the pain is severe you could have a dry socket, you may also have a sequestra, this is a small tooth or bone fragment which has been left behind in the socket. The body will naturally expel the sequestra but it can feel rather painful. If you can see small bony pieces in the socket then please visit your dentist again.

What could a throbbing pain after tooth extraction mean?

You would normally find that pain or discomfort after a tooth extraction is described as throbbing. The throbbing is actually the beat of your heart which you are more able to notice through the extraction site. Over the counter painkillers should take care of this and the pain should begin to ease after 24 hours.

What’s the difference between a surgical extraction and simple extraction?

Simple extractions are when a regular tooth sticks out from the gum, a surgical extraction is more complex as the tooth is usually still underneath the gum and not exposed. This requires a level of surgical exposure i.e. the removal of the gum and/or the bone. These types of extraction can be performed by either a dentist or oral surgeon.

Emergency dentist – FAQs

“I need to find an emergency dentist near me, can you help?”

Emergency dentistry

Before we go into the details of what constitutes a dental emergency and whether you need an emergency dentist or not, it’s worth noting that we offer an out of hours dentist up until 7 PM Monday to Thursday and all 9am – 4pm on Saturday. If you have a dental emergency outside of these hours please call the practice and our answerphone will have instructions of what to do.

 

What to do in a dental emergency

A dental emergency will either have extreme pain or blood loss around the tooth and/or gum.

  • If you have severe dental pain then this can be considered an emergency.
  • If you have knocked or banged a tooth and either the tooth is checked and bleeding itself or there is excessive bleeding around the tooth then this is a dental emergency.
  • If you have knocked a tooth out (avulsed) a tooth then this is a dental emergency.

If you have simply chipped the tooth and there is not severe pain and/or bleeding from within the tooth or around the tooth then this would not be normally considered a dental emergency.

Losing a crown, veneer or other dental restoration is also not considered a dental emergency unless there is severe pain associated.

Gum bleeding around one tooth

If your gum is bleeding around the tooth it can be for a couple of reasons:

  1. Your dental health is compromised which means the gums are particularly sensitive, puffy, red and bleed easily.
  2. You have had some form of trauma which has caused bleeding.

Poor dental health causing bleeding

Poor dental health can cause your gums to bleed due to the buildup of tartar around your teeth. Your teeth have a sticky layer (plaque) which forms over the teeth, this layer is rich in bacteria. The bacteria feed on sugar in your diet and as they do they excrete acid, it is this acid which attacks your teeth causing decay. If you do not remove the plaque from your teeth at least twice per day then it can form into hard areas, in particular in between your teeth.

As it forms into these hard areas (tartar) it can irritate the gum and it is this irritation which causes the gums to become inflamed, red, puffy and ultimately bleed upon light contact.

This is not a dental emergency and the only way to resolve it is to improve your oral health by visiting your dentist and dental hygienist.

Bleeding around the tooth caused by trauma

This can be considered a dental emergency. If your tooth is still in place and has not been knocked out, rinse your mouth out with warm water to dislodge and clear away any broken sections of the tooth (warm water is far kinder to your teeth if they are sensitive). If there is pain then use a cold compress on the cheek, you may also find that over-the-counter painkillers can help.

Mild bleeding around the tooth will usually stop quite quickly on its own. If it doesn’t then use some clean gauze to apply pressure to the bleeding area.

If the bleeding is excessive or does not stop then either call your emergency dentist in Croydon or visit your local accident and emergency.

Bleeding after tooth extraction

The heaviest bleeding usually occurs in the first couple of hours after a tooth extraction, however bleeding usually stops much quicker than this. Everyone is different and everyone takes a different time to stop bleeding. You might find you need to keep gauze over the extraction site for up to 5 hours to ensure the bleeding has stopped completely.

Biting gently on the gauze will ensure you have adequate pressure to stop the bleeding.

It’s important not to rinse away any blood clot which has formed, we therefore recommend not rinsing your mouth out for 24 hours in order to ensure the bleeding has completely stopped.

Sometimes people find that using a teabag instead of gauze can help, this is because the tannic acid in the teabag helps to form a clot by constricting bleeding vessels.

blood clot after tooth extraction

Unless you have a medical condition or are taking drugs to prevent clotting (always remember to tell your dentist if this is the case prior to any extraction) then the blood clot will begin to form immediately after the extraction.

In rare cases a dry sockets can form, this is where the blood clot is lost and exposes underlying nerves which can be exceptionally painful. If you look into the socket, rather than seeing a dark red clot you will probably see whitish bone. Other symptoms can include pain which radiates down the side of your jaw and into your ear as well as bad breath or nasty taste in your mouth.

A dry sockets typically appear 2 days after a tooth extraction and can only be treated by a dentist who will apply a special dressing.

If you believe you have a dry sockets then this would be considered a dental emergency and you should visit an emergency dentist.

 

NHS dental emergency line

There is not unfortunately an NHS dental emergency helpline. In the event of a dental emergency please do not contact your GP, your first port of call should always be to contact your own dentist. If you do not have a dentist you can call the NHS number 111 who may be able to help find an out of hours dental service near you.

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