Tooth Extraction

When restoration procedures such as root canal therapy, crowns or fillings are not enough to save a tooth, it may need to be pulled, or extracted. For a safe, comfortable tooth extraction in Westchester, IL, schedule an appointment today with Dr. John Houlihan or Dr. Clare Houlihan.

The Procedure

Tooth extraction procedures today are far less painful than ever before, thanks to powerful anesthetics and sedatives. In many cases, a patient who has tooth pulled experiences little or no discomfort, and only minor bleeding.

Before a tooth is extracted, the area surrounding the tooth is numbed with a topical/and or injectable anesthetic. Afterward, patients sometimes need to take an antibiotic, and at the very least, take precautions following the procedure to ensure that infection doesn't occur.

Smoking, vigorous brushing and rinsing, and drinking liquids through straws are discouraged during the post-operative period because they hinder healing and may cause the wound to open. Cold compresses applied to the outside cheek near the extraction area help reduce swelling and promote faster healing.

Tooth Extraction Post-Op Instructions

Bleeding. Some bleeding is to be expected following a tooth extraction. If persistent bleeding occurs, place gauze pads over bleeding area and bite down firmly for one-half hour. Repeat if necessary. Biting on a wet Lipton tea bag for a few minutes is also effective.

Swelling. Apply an ice bag or chopped ice wrapped in a towel to the affected area — 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off for four to five hours. After the first 24 hours have passed, heat packs will help to reduce swelling. Alternate placing heat pack gently over the swollen area for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.

Pain. For mild to average pain, use any medication you would normally take for a headache or other pain. If a prescription for medication has been given to you, fill it at the pharmacy and start taking it immediately. Remember to always take antibiotics until completion — all antibiotic pills must be taken as directed until the bottle is empty.

Food. A soft diet is advisable during the first 24 hours. Stay away from spicy or acidic foods.

Bony Edges. Small sharp bone fragments may work up through the gums during healing. These are not roots; if this is annoying, return to this office for their simple removal.

If any unusual symptoms occur, call our office at once. Proper care following oral surgical procedures helps hasten recovery and prevent complications.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that erupt in the back corners of the upper and lower normal adult mouth. Unfortunately, most people experience problems from wisdom teeth; in most cases, this is because the teeth erupt too close to existing permanent teeth.

If wisdom teeth are causing a problem and are not pulled, they can sometimes become infected. Infected wisdom teeth can be extremely painful, as well as harmful to your oral health. Symptoms are easy to spot: severe discomfort, facial swelling, inflammation, pain, gum swelling and limited range of opening.

Many people need to have their wisdom teeth extracted to avoid future serious problems. In general, the lack of the four wisdom teeth does not hamper one's ability to properly bite down, speak or eat.