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Posted on: December 29, 2021
What to Expect with a Tooth Extraction
The last thing most people like to hear from a dentist is that they need a tooth pulled. They start imaging all kinds of procedures with scary instruments. Extractions have greatly improved over the years; there is no pain, only a slight pressure. With a simple extraction, a dentist can have the tooth out in just a few minutes. It’s not like old western movies depict with a barber or blacksmith using a crude instrument to yank the tooth out with a great deal of pulling. Instead of of a shot of whiskey, you receive a local anesthetic to block pain sensations.
A compassionate dental team in Suwanee will help you relax before the procedure by explaining what will happen and how anesthesia will make the procedure virtually painless. You’ll also learn what you need to do to ensure you have the best recovery possible and avoid any lasting issues.
There are a few reasons why a dentist may suggest an extraction, including teeth that can’t erupt from the gum and teeth damaged by decay or an injury that can’t be successfully treated with a root canal. Other times, dentists pull teeth to relieve overcrowding or in preparation for orthodontic work. If the tooth is visible in the mouth, a dentist can do a simple extraction. This involves numbing the area, loosening the tooth with a tool known as an elevator and then removing it with dental forceps.
If the tooth is trapped under the gum (impacted), a surgical extraction, where a dental professional must make a small incision in the gum tissue. Once the tooth is out, you may need stitches. They usually dissolve in a few days. You won’t experience any more pain than you would with a simple extraction, but you may take advantage of sedation options, since the procedure takes longer.
What to Know Before a Tooth Extraction
First, the dentist will examine the tooth and take an x-ray so he or she can plan the procedure. You’ll be asked about whether you take any prescription or OTC medications. Also, mention any vitamins or supplements you take. Your dentist will ask for a complete medical history. Some important things he or she will look for include:
- Liver disease
- Artificial joints
- Man-made heart valves
- Congenital heart defects
- An impaired immune system
Having any of these conditions may delay your extraction for a few days while your dentist prescribes antibiotics to take as they make you more prone to infections. It is important to share information with your dentist about your overall health, since having a surgical procedure performed can impact existing conditions or issues.
At this stage, feel free to ask your dentist any questions you may have for the procedure and what you can expect. Your dentist will take the time to walk you through the process and ensure you feel comfortable with what will happen. No questions are stupid and no fear to small to air. The dentist is there to make sure everything goes smoothly, they are your best resource against dental worries.
Aftercare for Tooth Extractions
Following the instructions your dentist gives you when you leave the office will ensure you heal as quickly as possible. Most simple extractions heal in about seven days. A molar extraction may take up to 10 days. Surgical extractions take a week or more longer to heal. Dentists consider the extraction site healed when gum tissue completely covers the cavity.
You may have residual bleeding, so you leave with a gauze pad over the site. You may have to change the pad a few times after you get home as some bleeding is normal. The area may swell; use an ice pack as directed. Swelling may not occur until the next day, but using an ice pack before the swelling starts may prevent or lessen it. Your dentist will either prescribe pain medication or suggest an OTC pain reliever for any discomfort you will feel after the anesthesia wears off.
A blood clot will start to form almost immediately at the site. It is essential not to do anything that will disturb the clot, including:
- Rest for 24 hours after the procedure. Lie with your head elevated to help stop the bleeding. Limit any vigorous activities for several days.
- Start eating soft foods the next day, being careful not to use the affected side of your mouth
- Avoid very hot or very cold beverages and foods
- You may clean your teeth if you don’t disturb the site
- Do not use a straw
- Do not spit or rinse
Try to plan your extraction when you can take the next day off from work or school.
If you experience excessive bleeding or swelling, contact your dentist right away. If you feel an agonizing pain, you may have dry socket, where the clot was disturbed. Also, call if you develop a fever, chills, swollen glands or see pus at the extraction site as it may be infected.
Wisdom Teeth Extractions
Wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars we get in our mouths. They usually appear somewhere between the ages of 17 and 25. Each year, millions of people have their wisdom teeth extracted because they tend to cause problems. Many people don’t have room for the molars in their mouth.
Sometimes, there is no room for the wisdom teeth to emerge from the gums. Dentists call these impacted wisdom teeth and will recommend a surgical extraction. In other cases, the teeth come in at an awkward angle or only partially emerge. Impacted or wisdom teeth that can’t emerge straight can cause infections and damage adjacent teeth. You can have problems with only one wisdom tooth or with all four.
Some dentists suggest their patients have their wisdom teeth extracted before they can cause any problems if x-rays show the teeth may not have room to emerge straight. The jawbone isn’t as dense at a young age and there is less chance of complications. Talk to your dentist in Suwanee about whether removing your wisdom teeth is right for you if they are not bothering you.