Everything You Need to Know About Tooth Pain
Tooth pain that occurs in or around your tooth can be caused by many things including:
- Decay (Cavity/Carries)
- Tooth Abscess
- Fractured Tooth
- Filling Damage
- Grinding Teeth
- Gum infection
Failing to get any of these treated in a timely manner can increase your chances of that tooth being non-restorable… which ultimately can lead to that tooth needing to be extracted.
There is more to an extraction than just getting your tooth pulled. A tooth extraction is a procedure in dentistry that is completed when one or more teeth need to be removed. Typically teeth that get extracted are ones that are damaged beyond repair. You should talk to your Dentist about the next steps after you have a tooth extracted. They may recommend replacing the missing tooth with a bridge or implant.
Reasons for Extraction
There are many common reasons to have a tooth extracted. These reasons include:
- Overcrowding: Sometimes tooth extractions are necessary to create room for other teeth to grow in properly.
- Decay & Damage: Teeth that are too damaged beyond the point of repair may require the dentist to replace the tooth. Extractions are typically required for an implant, bridge, or another device to get placed where the missing tooth or teeth were.
- Needs replacement: When a tooth is broken or chipped to the point it is irreparable – the tooth may need to be extracted. After extraction, it’s important to fill the missing tooth with either an implant or a dental bridge.
- Wisdom Teeth: Generally, wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 24. Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, but most people do. Sometimes they grow crooked which impacts the other teeth or causes swelling, pain, or discomfort. When this happens they need to be removed.
Tooth Extraction Types
- Simple Extraction: This type of extraction is used to remove visible teeth in the mouth. This sort of extraction can be done at your dentist office. You are typically free to go after the tooth/teeth are extracted and stop bleeding.
- Surgical Extraction: Surgical extractions are performed when the tooth/teeth are not easily accessible. These extractions can typically include impacted teeth like wisdom teeth that have not broken through the gum yet. Generally, these procedures get performed under a general anesthetic and most of these procedures are done at a specialized clinic. Sometimes, dentists might be able to do these procedures in their offices… it just depends on the condition of the tooth and how visible it is.
Pain Management Post-Extraction
Once your tooth is removed, it is typical to experience soreness and discomfort for three to seven days after the procedure. Pain medication is typically prescribed to help manage the pain. Taking the recommended dosage can greatly reduce the pain following the procedure.
To learn more about the foods to eat after an extraction visit our other blog post “Do Wisdom Teeth Have To Be Removed”
During your recovery, you should avoid eating hard foods. You should eat softer foods such as eggs, macaroni and cheese, or mashed potatoes after your procedure. You should avoid hot/spicy food and alcoholic beverages for several days post extraction. Alcohol can actually burn the inflamed area and may cause a reaction with the pain medications you are prescribed. You can begin eating regularly when it is comfortable to do so.
RINSE! After your extraction, you should rinse your mouth out with salt water by taking a teaspoon of salt and dissolving it in a 8oz cup of water 2 or 3 times a day to help keep the area around the extraction site from getting an infection.
BRUSH! Start brushing and flossing as you would normally 24 hours after the procedure. Be very gentle cleaning the area where the tooth was pulled.
CALL! Call your doctor immediately if you experience severe bleeding or abnormal pain during recovery.
During recovery, make sure you don’t remove the blood clot from the extraction site. This clot allows the gums to heal themselves. If this blood clot falls out, it can cause severe pain or an infection because it exposes the bone beneath the gums.
If you feel more pain in the area where your tooth was removed, or if you suspect you have dry socket, you should call your dentist immediately!
Keep the area CLEAN by cleaning the extraction site around the wound several times a day. You should also try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth to avoid getting food stuck in the extraction area.
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP AFTER EXTRACTION
Gaps in your smile can put unnecessary pressure on your other teeth and subsequently can put your oral health at risk. That is why it is SO important to talk with your dentist about the different options for restoring your smile and filling the gaps.
What problems can missing teeth cause?
Missing teeth don’t just affect your appearance… If you delay or avoid getting treatment, there can be more serious problems for your oral and general health.
These can include:
- Crooked teeth – Your teeth support each other, so when one is missing, the teeth on either side can start to shift into the gap. Over time, this can lead to a crooked smile, bite problems and joint pain.
- Gum disease and tooth decay – If your teeth shift, you may not be able to reach all their surfaces when brushing and flossing. This allows plaque to form, increasing your risk of dental diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease that could lead to further tooth loss.
- Bone loss – Your teeth also support your jaw by stimulating bone growth. When one or more teeth are absent, this can cause the jaw to shrink, altering the shape of your face.
- TMJ disorders – The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect your jaw to your skull can be put under strain when your teeth shift out of position, often causing headaches and other pain and discomfort.
- Changes to your diet – Missing teeth can also make it harder to eat certain foods, which could limit your diet and affect your health.
What if the missing teeth are at the back of my mouth?
Out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind when it comes to your oral health. Just because you can’t see a missing tooth doesn’t mean it won’t cause problems in the long term. Your back teeth (molars) do the most work – the chewing, so losing a tooth in this area could make it harder to eat your favourite foods. It’s equally important to replace any missing teeth, wherever they’re located in your mouth.
What are my options for replacing missing teeth?
Your dentist will discuss all the options for replacing your lost teeth and restoring the look, feel and function of your mouth. They’ll make sure you have all the information about what each treatment involves and how they compare, so you can make an informed decision.
The most permanent solution for replacing a tooth, dental implants are made of strong titanium and are inserted into the jaw to act like a tooth root. The implant is then covered with a crown designed to blend in with your natural teeth. The advantages of dental implants are that they’re long-lasting, not easily damaged and stimulate bone growth in your jaw to prevent it from deteriorating. You can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or even a whole arch with just implants. It’s important to note that dental implants are not suitable for all patients. An implant can only be placed when there is enough healthy jaw bone present. So when there isn’t enough healthy bone present, the implant can fail. This is why patients with advanced gum disease (periodontitis) may not be suitable candidates for implant surgery. Other risks associated with dental implant surgery include possible sinus problems, temporary swelling, bruising, bleeding and in rare cases infection and nerve damage. A thorough examination and radiographs are taken before a dentist can recommend dental implants as the most suitable option for your missing tooth. This will reduce the likelihood of dental implant failure and help you make an informed decision about your oral health.
Bridges are artificial teeth that look and feel like your natural teeth. They are supported by the teeth on either side of the gap, which are covered by dental crowns. Dental bridges can last for many years when you follow good oral hygiene, but unlike dental implants, they don’t support new bone growth in your jaw.
Modern dentures have come a long way from the false teeth of the past. Partial dentures can replace single teeth or several teeth in a row, and are designed to be the same shade as your natural teeth. However, like bridges, they don’t offer support for your jaw.
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