The Connection Between Tooth Extractions and Infections

The Connection Between Tooth Extractions and Infections

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Bacteria are always active in your mouth, whether you are the perfect example of oral hygiene, just had a tooth extracted or lying in bed asleep at night.

Due to the bacteria in our mouths there’s a pretty good chance that we may end up with an infection after major dental procedures even after having tooth extractions.

Depending on how bad the health of the tooth the dentist has just removed, he may prescribe antibiotics to reduce your risk of getting an infection. Diseased teeth, unhealthy gums and poor oral hygiene make you more likely to have a problem with an infection after having teeth extracted. In some cases though, even antibiotics can’t prevent an infection.

If when you visit the dentist with a toothache and you’ve got swollen gums that bleed or a swollen face, then you may already have an infection and depending on your dentist’s diagnosis you could be required to take a course of antibiotics before they will treat the problem tooth. A really bad abscess also needs to be treated with antibiotics before the dentist will remove a problem tooth.

There is a risk that if your dentist proceeds with an extraction when you already have an infection that the infection can be spread and cause even more damage and pain. It’s also very common for an infection to reduce the effectiveness of anesthetic so, by waiting for the infection to clear your dentist is able to assure you of a pain free extraction.

More often people develop an infection after an extraction because the balance of bacteria in your mouth is changed. Suddenly there’s an area in your mouth that’s totally exposed and the bacteria are able to get in and multiply. This then leads to an infection. On top of that, because you’re unable to use mouthwash, brush your teeth or do any of your regular dental hygiene routine you are unable to do anything about the balance of bacteria in your mouth.

Early Warning Sign of an Infection

The first sign of infection after a tooth extraction is usually renewed bleeding and will occur around 48 hours after the extraction. At this stage the infection is mild and easily treatable with antibiotics. Even though it isn’t severe, still call your dentist and make an appointment to be seen. That way they can review the situation and if needed give you different antibiotics and other prescriptions that will fix the problem.

While infections can cause a lot of pain and are best dealt with immediately, you personally may not have to take antibiotics once the dentist has removed your tooth.

If you have good oral hygiene, your mouth is clean and the tooth extraction was a simple and easy procedure, your dentist knows that your body’s ability heal the wound naturally will be the safest and fastest way for you to recover. Together with simple strategies like rinsing your mouth out with lukewarm salt water for the first few days are enough to keep the extraction site clean and infection free.

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