General Information

When restorative procedures such as root canal therapy, crowns, or fillings are not enough to save a tooth that is fractured or decayed, it may need to be pulled.

While this thought may be disappointing or scary, it is always a step toward better dental health and many times a patient’s overall health.  Tooth extraction procedures today are better than ever before thanks to powerful anesthetics and the opportunity to use sedative agents to reduce anxiety or fear. 

Before a tooth is extracted, the area is numbed with topical and injectable anesthetics such as lidocaine (what many people refer to as novocaine).  We will assure that you are comfortably numbed before we extract a tooth. 

Following the procedure, it is inevitable that there will be a bit of bleeding and some discomfort.  We will help you by instructing you how to use gauze to stop the bleeding and send home a supply to get the bleeding stopped in a reasonable amount of time.  This is usually between one and two hours if instructions are followed. 

You might be prescribed an antibiotic to take for a week or so to either eliminate an infection or prevent one from occurring after teeth are removed.  Also, we will make recommendations for oral pain medications to greatly reduce or eliminate any discomfort.  You may use over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, prescription pain relievers, or both.    Not all patients are the same, and not all extractions are the same.  We will tailor a post-operative course to you and your individual situation. 

For the particularly anxious patient, there are several options to make you more comfortable during and even prior to your procedures.  These include oral anti-anxiety agents, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and intravenous (conscious) sedation.  As very unique individuals, we respond differently to these different sedation options.  You may need a consultation with your doctor to find out which is ideal for you.  But know that there is help and hope, and a caring dental office to ease you back to dental health even if you are very scared. 

Following extractions, you will have some guidelines to follow for a few days.  Smoking, using drinking straws and vigorous spitting are strongly discouraged for several days.  You will likely be encouraged to avoid chewing over the extraction sites for about 3 days.  Soft foods that work well include mashed potatoes and gravy, creamy oatmeal, soups (without large or tough chunks), fried or scrambled eggs mashed with a fork, ice cream, yogurt, pudding, applesauce, mashed cottage cheese. 

Occasionally I will ask to see you for a post-operative visit to check on your progress.  You are encouraged to call, however if you have any concerns prior to that date.  We would like to speak with you to answer any questions you might have and arrange a visit to the office if needed. 

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that typically form in the back corners of the upper and lower adult mouth.  Unfortunately, most people experience problems with their wisdom teeth due to crowding, partial eruption, and difficulty with oral hygiene and the subsequent development of gum disease around these teeth.  Many times, removal before they come in, or erupt, is advisable. 

Other than symptoms of pain, swelling, or pressure, the panoramic x-ray that we routinely recommend every 3-5 years helps us to know if there is a problem or if we would recommend removal of these teeth.  The most ideal time for removal tends to be between the ages of 14 and 20.  We would always like to see an x-ray showing the wisdom teeth and surrounding structures between the ages of 14 and 16 so that we may give timely recommendations for their removal at the ideal stage of development.  Waiting too long can make the surgery and, therefore, the post-operative course more difficult. 

Most often patients undergoing removal of their wisdom teeth have intravenous conscious sedation in our office administered by Dr. Shannon Hingst.  IV sedation is very safe and an effective way to essentially finish the procedure without even knowing that it started.  The great majority of sedated patients are extremely sleepy, relaxed, and have little or even no memories until after the procedure is completely finished.  Again, we are all unique, and a consultation with Dr. Hingst is required prior to scheduling to allow us to tailor fit a procedure and a sedation plan for each patient. And you need not worry, your snoring won’t bother us a bit!