The surgical extraction of teeth is exactly that…a surgery, and therefore involves some of the risks of any type of surgery. This is said not to frighten you, but rather to give a better understanding about certain features of the surgery.
Potential Risks and Complications
- The removal of teeth requires a certain amount of controlled pressure and force. This is required in order to remove the tooth with as little trauma as possible. While care is always taken to minimize any potential damage, the jaw joint is sometimes strained or even dislocated. With proper post-operative care, the resulting tenderness and inflammation normally resolves itself in a few days without any active treatment.
- The roots of the upper teeth often extend near the bony floor of the sinus. While precautions are taken and the teeth are removed as gently as possible, occasionally a portion of this bony floor may be cracked or removed during the removal of upper teeth. Normally this defect heals, but occasionally an additional minor surgery is required to repair the defect. The dentist will inform you as to what to do if this occurs and will provide appropriate follow-up care.
- Lower teeth, especially wisdom teeth often lie on or near the main nerve to the lower jaw and often near the main nerve of the tongue. In spite of all the precautions, these nerves are sometimes bruised or stretched during the removal of teeth. This may result in altered sensation (numbness or parasthesia) of the lower lip, chin, inside of the cheek, teeth, or tip of the tongue. The duration of the altered sensation is unpredictable.
- In very rare instances, the removal of impacted teeth from the lower jaw results in a jaw fracture. In most cases, this can be predicted before the surgery and you will be informed of this possibility. In any case, this may occur when the tooth, because of its unusual position, has weakened the jaw. Every possible precaution is ALWAYS taken to prevent such an occurrence.
- When you leave our office, you will be biting on a piece of gauze. Please continue to bite on this gauze for 45 minutes. Gently remove the gauze and place another (folded into a bundle) and continue to apply pressure by biting for another 30 – 45 minutes. If the bleeding continues and the gauze is gone, take a regular tea bag and moisten it under warm water. Bite gently into the tea bag for 30 minutes. Tea contains tannin and it will help stop the bleeding.
- Bleeding: As with any surgery, hemorrhage (bleeding) is a risk following teeth/tooth removal. A combination of good surgical techniques, sutures, and appropriate dressings usually minimize the problem of post-operative bleeding. If there is any family history of bleeding disorders or if you have been taking aspirin or aspirin-like medications recently, please let the dentist know in advance of the surgery. This will help to anticipate any potential problems.
- Infection: While the removal of the teeth is done in keeping with sound surgical principles and with meticulously sterile instruments, the possibility of infection still exists. Medications may be prescribed before and/or after the surgery to minimize the chance of infection. In addition, good oral hygiene will help to minimize the possibility of an infection developing post-operatively.
- Dry Socket: (Fibrinolytic alveolitis): If after 3 – 4 days post surgery, the discomfort seems to be worsening and you notice a bad taste in your mouth, you may be suffering from a “dry socket”. This occurs when the blood clot, which normally forms in the extraction site, gets washed out or dislodged resulting in exposed nerve endings. The treatment is normally simple and involves inducing bleeding to reform the clot in the socket or the placement of a sedative dressing to make the area more comfortable.
- Riverstone Dental recommends no smoking, drinking through a straw or vigorous rinsing for at least 24 hours.
There are risks associated with the treatment and there are potential post operative complications that can occur. Occasionally during the removal of teeth, the adjacent tooth may be injured. This can involve the fracture or displacement of a filling or crown. Risks and post operative complications can include but are not limited to a reaction to the anaesthetic used, facial discoloration, tooth fractures, periodontal recession and/or periodontal disease, functional problems including jaw joint problems, chewing problems, post operative muscle pain, speech problems.
Note: Every attempt will be made to communicate both the original risks and potential complications as treatment progresses. However, despite our best efforts there can be unexpected complications.
If you have any further questions regarding tooth extraction or other procedures to improve your smile, please ask the dentist or any of our staff at Riverstone Dental.