Gum disease can loosen or severely damage a tooth. A tooth that is severely damaged may need to be removed.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. You can gently bite down on a cotton gauze pad placed over the wound to help stop the bleeding. The removed tooth can be replaced with an implant, a denture, or a bridge. A bridge is a replacement for one or more (but not all) of the teeth and may be permanent or removable.
What to Expect After Surgery
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. The following will help speed recovery:
- Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. To help relieve pain and swelling, apply an ice or cold pack to the outside of your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
- After 24 hours, rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water. Do not rinse hard. This can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
- Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Avoid smoking.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue.
- Do not use sucking motions, such as when using a straw to drink.
- Continue to carefully brush your teeth and tongue.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time, and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed.