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Dentistry has seen incredible advances over its long history. Because of innovations in prevention and treatment, more smiles are being preserved than ever before. However, from time to time it is necessary for a dentist to extract a tooth.

The reasons for an extraction vary. Your tooth may be compromised by damage or disease to the point that it is no longer viable. Your mouth may have too many teeth, and an extraction may be required to relieve overcrowding. Extractions may be necessary for orthodontic work, or to mitigate wisdom teeth issues.

An extraction that does not require surgery is called a simple extraction. A simple extraction is a relatively straightforward process. The dentist will loosen your tooth with a tool called an elevator, before removing it with a pair of forceps. If necessary, he may close the socket with a single, dissolvable stitch. You may receive a prescription for a pain reliever or antibiotic. The dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment to check the socket, and to discuss replacement options with you.

After the extraction, you should take any medication, including over-the-counter pain relievers exactly as directed. You will probably not feel like eating anything right away, but if you do become hungry, you should eat cool soft foods for the first 24 hours. Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that has had the extraction. You may brush your other teeth if you wish, but you should rinse the extraction area with warm water. Avoid using straws and smoking.

Why should you be so careful? A blood clot has formed over the socket, which is protecting the exposed bone and nerves. If that clot is rupture or removed (a condition known as dry socket), your body will be vulnerable to infection, and you will probably experience intense pain. If you do experience dry socket, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible.

If you have a tooth that has been giving you trouble, our dentist, Dr. Ramin Moradi will be happy to help. If you live in the Campbell, California, area, call 408-378-2890 for to make an appointment at San Tomas Signature Smiles.