Tooth Extractions

At Burnham Oral Surgery, we realize that having a dental extraction can be an anxiety-producing proposition for most people. We want you to rest assured that Thornton oral surgeons Dr. Michael Burnham and Dr. Anne Stearns, along with their team will do everything they can to ensure your comfort.

The extraction procedure can be performed under either conscious or intravenous sedation, meaning you will remember little or nothing about this pain-free experience. Because our office is equipped with state-of-the-art dental technology, the procedure—and the healing process—will be as comfortable as possible.

Why a Tooth Might Need Extraction

Removing a tooth is always a treatment of last resort, but some situations warrant extraction to protect your overall oral health as well as your remaining healthy teeth. The most common reason we extract teeth is because decay has become so extensive that the tooth is simply beyond repair. Other reasons include a severely abscessed tooth or a crack deep within the tooth, both of which carry the risk of infection, or periodontal disease that is too far gone.

Additionally, if there is inadequate room in the jaw and teeth have become crowded, removing a tooth can help alleviate the problem before it becomes more serious.

We also extract wisdom teeth, the third molars that come in for most people when they are their late teens or early twenties. These teeth often come in with problems because there is little room in the jaw for them. Or they may remain just below the surface of the gums without ever actually breaking through, a condition called impacted.

Regardless of the scenario around your needed extraction, Dr. Burnham and Dr. Stearns will work closely with your general dentist or other specialists to coordinate your treatment.

Simple Extraction versus Surgical Extraction

Nonrestorable teeth often require surgical extraction, which can include releasing the gum tissue, potentially removing a portion of the bone, and in some cases sectioning the tooth into a couple of pieces. A simple extraction often occurs when there is severe bone loss and does not require releasing the gums or removing the bone to remove the tooth. If a tooth has not come in yet, your oral surgeon might need to remove gum tissue and bone along with it; this is referred to as a surgical extraction.

Wisdom teeth often need to be extracted surgically because they are impacted, or not fully erupted. Other teeth might simply have grown dense, meaning surgery is the only way to safely remove them.

It might surprise most people to know that surgical extraction of teeth is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in this country!

Post-Surgery Instructions

Be sure to follow our post-procedure instructions, regardless of whether your extraction was simple or surgical. If you have a surgical extraction, you will probably have stitches at the extraction site. Take any prescribed medications as directed by your oral surgeon.

At Burnham Oral Surgery, we recommend the following for your post-op recovery:

  • After the procedure, biting down on a gauze pad for about a half-hour will help minimize bleeding.
  • For the first two hours afterward, avoid talking, eating, or drinking. Don’t rinse your mouth or brush your teeth for at least 12 hours.
  • Once the bleeding stops, you can drink sips of water, preferably at room temperature.
  • You can eat after a few hours but stick to soft food for at least the first day after your procedure.
  • When you brush in the first days after the procedure, avoid the extraction site. Rinse your mouth with diluted mouthwash or salt water.
  • Don’t use a straw or smoke; the sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot forming at the site, resulting in a painful condition known as dry socket.

If bleeding persists or you have pain beyond mild discomfort, be sure to call our office right away!

If your dentist has recommended an extraction, please ask for a referral to Burnham Oral Surgery. Not only will you be treated by expert oral surgeons, but we can also discuss tooth replacement options.