Extracted 3rd Molar that was horizontally impa...

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Understanding Having Your Teeth Pulled and Infections


For whatever reason you have gone to the dentist and need a tooth pulled.

You could have an infection, you have a cracked tooth or bad tooth that you cannot afford to repair, you could have too many teeth or you could have teeth that are growing in wrong.  Each of these scenarios has a different way of treating them, though they all end up being extractions.

You always have bacteria in your mouth, food and drinks are a great breeding ground for their growth.  If you have bad hygiene then you will have even more bacteria to deal with.  An infection after any extraction of a tooth is common.  Most dentists will prescribe antibiotics after extraction as a common way to stop infections, but even then sometimes the infection still occurs.

Let us talk about each tooth extraction scenario:

You have a tooth infection or you may have an abscess in the tooth

You have been dealing with a nagging tooth ache. It suddenly gets worse and you may even have more pain and swelling so you go to the dentist.  He notices the swelling of your face, the swollen gums and guesses there is an infection.

He will do x-rays to confirm it and then tells you the tooth needs pulling.  Most dentists will not pull that tooth or even work on it until you start on a course of antibiotics for 72 hours.  Even then you will need to continue the full course of the antibiotic to keep the tooth from re infecting.

You have a cracked tooth or a bad tooth that you cannot afford to repair or you have too many teeth or your teeth are growing in wrong and need pulled

Right now your mouth is feeling ok, maybe some swelling from where the tooth is trying to poke through the skin where they should not be, but so far there is no active infection.  However even though that is true some dentists prefer to give their patients antibiotics before they will do any type of extraction.  They do this because they know that local anesthesia won’t work very well if there is an infection present, and it may take them a lot of work and a lot of medicine to numb the area that you have the infection in.

In the event that you have a bad infection and the tooth must be removed immediately the dentist can still get you numb.  It might take a lot of numbing medication but more than likely it can be done.

However occasionally the patient just will not go numb as they are afraid or in pain and their adrenaline coursing through there body is combating the numbing agent.  If that happens the dentist may choose to use IV (intravenous) sedation or nasal laughing gas.  With IV sedation you will normally be put to sleep, so that the dentist can remove the tooth that is causing you so much trouble with the least amount of pain.

You have a tooth ache

Your tooth has a dull ache in it, just enough to be noticed all the time and so you go to the doctor and he tells you that you need it pulled.  It is able to be pulled without waiting for antibiotics to kick in, but you will need to take a full course of them afterwards to stop any infection from starting up.

After the extraction

For whatever reason you have just had a tooth extracted and you are one of the unlucky ones that even though you are not infected beforehand or are taking antibiotics you still get an infection.  This is caused by the many bacteria that live in your mouth.

Following the tooth removal even more bacteria will be there to cause problems if they can.  It is an open wound and bacteria are greedy for that kind of breeding ground.  Not only that for 24-48 hours you are unable to brush your teeth or use mouthwash to help control the bacteria.  This means the little germs go wild.

The first sign of an infection you will you have after an extraction is that the site of extraction will begin to bleed again. This bleeding will usually happen around 48 hours post extraction.

The bleeding will not usually be severe but it is still a sign that you should call your dentist and explain to him what is happening.  Your dentist will most likely either see you or order different antibiotic and other prescriptions that will help.

Even though infections are common and can cause problems after extraction there are things you can do to deal with your mouth care that will not give the bacteria the environment to grow.  If you take good care of your mouth and you see your dentist regularly then you may not need to be on antibiotics after you get a tooth taken out.

You can heal the wound with the following simple care: Rinse your mouth frequently post extraction with warmish salt water, if you are using gauze then change it frequently but not to frequently because you want the wound to clot.  Do not smoke or use straws as this will keep your wound bleeding and be a breeding ground for infection.

Filed under: General Issues

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