You finally decided to have that one bad tooth removed. You had the operation and were given some painkillers and antibiotic afterwards along with some verbal and written instructions to assist you in dealing better with the ensuing pain. And you did your best … sort of! But you are still experiencing pain, much more than you had anticipated. Will it get better if you keep waiting and allow it more time to heal? Or should you go back to your dentist or oral surgeon for further evaluation to see if something else has to be done to expedite the healing process?
Pros of Going to the Dentist
1. If a piece of tooth is left behind you must have the dentist or oral surgeon remove it. Removing a tooth can be very easy or very complicated and you just never quite know which one will be the case. Some teeth come right out as a whole without any sort of complication while others will break off into pieces and must be removed in several fragments causing serious trauma to the region. When this occurs you will most likely experience some serious pain afterwards. And there will also be the chance of something going wrong such as maybe a piece of tooth, bone or instrument being left behind.
- The worse complication is if the dentist leaves a piece of the tooth root behind. This is almost never acceptable and the fragment must be removed. The dentist should take an X-ray if he or she suspects any tooth piece is left in the socket. And if the dentist is unable to remove the fragment he or she must inform you and immediately refer you to an oral surgeon who is capable of removing it. Of course sometimes the dentist mistakingly assumes that the tooth has been fully removed and fails to take an X-ray only to find out later that there is still a fragment in there.
- If there is a piece of broken bone or broken instrument left behind this is typically not a big deal and can be fixed easily. Bone fragments or broken instruments either come out on their own or can be removed with a tweezer like instrument by your dentist or oral surgeon. These case rarely require a second surgery to repair and are quite easy to handle. So if you are feeling something is left in there lets hope it is anything but a piece of tooth!
2. Your dentist or oral surgeon may have to up your medications. You should receive stronger pain killers and antibiotics for the more difficult surgeries. If you feel the medications you were prescribed are not getting the job done then contact your dentist or oral surgeon to see if they can prescribe you something different that will work.
- The pain killer of choice for easier extractions is Ibuprofen (motrin) while the more complicated ones require stronger pain killers like some type of narcotics. Some patients don’t do too well with narcotics and may have to go back to relying on Ibuprofen if they can’t handle the stronger pain killers.
- Antibiotics are usually recommended after extractions to prevent and infection from occurring. Penicillin or Amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice in most cases if you are not allergic to them otherwise you will probably be given Clindamycin, Erthromycin or some other antibiotic. Symptoms of allergies to antibiotics include difficulty breathing or itching and you should immediately stop taking the pills and contact your dentist or oral surgeon for a possible substitute.
3. The dentist or oral surgeon can re-evaluate your healing process. Typically your dentist will automatically give you a follow-up appointment within a week or two to evaluate your healing and to remove any sutures that are still in place. If you are experiencing severe pain or other complications you can always go back to the dentist or oral surgeon to re-examine the area to make sure there is nothing else wrong. If you feel like there is something left behind you can always request an X-ray to better examine the region. But don’t forget if the dentist already took an X-ray after the extraction to make sure the tooth was fully removed then there is not much more he or she can do for you in the next few days and a new X-ray will not reveal any additional information at this stage.