Dr. Gilbert Lopez of New Smile Dental works with his patients to achieve the best oral health possible. Sometimes a tooth requires requires extraction despite everyone’s efforts toward preserving it. Dr. Lopez tells the reason behind this procedure, how it’s done and what recovery involves. Frequently, the backmost molars, or wisdom teeth in Fort Smith, are troublesome enough to need removal.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the back of the mouth. Typically, they erupt during adolescence. If an individual has a large jaw, there is sufficient room for these teeth to remain and to function. However, many times wisdom teeth cause teens significant pain and even infection because they just don’t have room for them. Also, wisdom teeth tend to develop at an angle or to become impacted in gums or bone. Dr. Lopez says wisdom teeth can impede orthodontic correction, too.
Reasons for Tooth Extraction in Fort Smith
Careful oral examination and digital X-rays tell Dr. Lopez when a tooth must be pulled. Here are some of the reasons for extraction, including extraction of wisdom teeth in Fort Smith:
- Tooth fracture due to oral injury
- Dental abscess not treatable with root canal therapy
- Impaction of wisdom teeth in the gum tissue or bone
- Baby teeth crowding permanent teeth
- Advancement of orthodontic treatment (teeth are crowded)
- Extensive tooth decay
- Placement of dentures for failing teeth
- Advanced gum disease, or periodontitis
During extraction, Dr. Lopez and his team make the patient comfortable using local anesthesia (pain shot) or with other medication options.
Types of Extractions
Some extractions are more difficult than others. During a consultation, Dr. Lopez determines the best way to extract a tooth, considering patient comfort and recovery. In general, there are two types of extractions:
- Simple extraction Usually requiring just local anesthetic to numb the area, this common procedure involves a dental instrument called an elevator. With the elevator, Dr. Lopez rocks the tooth back and forth to loosen it. Then, he grasps the tooth with dental forceps and pulls it from the socket. He often instills antibiotics and stitches the site closed.
- Surgical extraction This procedure may require local anesthesia, nitrous oxide or other sedation to make the patient comfortable. After incising the gums, the dentist may remove the tooth in pieces.
Aftercare for Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Dr. Lopez is known for his gentle care. He ensures his patients are driven home from extractions by a friend or loved one and recommends this aftercare protocol:
- Bite on gauze for 30 minutes to one hour to stop bleeding
- Use over the counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain
- Take antibiotics as prescribed
- Refrain from smoking or drinking with a straw for 24 hours
- Begin a clear liquid diet and advance to soft foods (mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and soups) over the first two days
- No brushing for 12 hours
- Drink plenty of water
- Rinse your mouth with salt water the first day
- Come to New Smile Dental for follow-up
- Call the office if bleeding does not resolve
What’s Happening with Your Wisdom Teeth?
If you are concerned about a wisdom tooth or have some discomfort at the back of your mouth, please contact New Smile Dental. Dr. Lopez will determine the right course of action and get your mouth feeling good and functioning well again