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Posted on: December 29, 2021
What to Expect with a Tooth Extraction
Having a tooth pulled isn’t something to look forward to, but sometimes it’s necessary. Dentists won’t recommend an extraction unless they can’t save the tooth. Common reasons for extractions include decay, damage, and periodontal disease. Sometimes, dentists pull teeth when your mouth is overcrowded or in preparation for orthodontic work. The extraction will resolve a dental issue and it’s important to remember it’s not going to hurt.
Simple extractions often occur when the tooth is visible and a dentist can pull it out. The dentist will use an elevator to loosen the tooth and then use dental forceps to pull it out. Since the dentist doesn’t have to make an incision in your gum, you won’t need stitches. This procedure often involves removing diseased teeth that fillings, root canals, and crowns can’t fix. Fractured teeth are also common reasons for getting a simple extraction. If you’re concerned about appearances, you can talk to your dentist about tooth replacement options.
If you have a tooth trapped under the gum (impacted), you would need a surgical extraction. The dentist has to cut a small incision in the gum to get to the tooth. Recovery for a simple extraction is simple. You’ll only need to take the day off of work or school. You can also get over-the-counter or prescription medication to help manage the pain. Recovery from a surgical extraction can take a little longer than a simple extraction. You may have dissolvable stitches.
No matter what kind of extraction you are getting, the pain from the procedure will be less than the pain caused by a decayed or broken tooth. Dentistry has come a long way and most dentists will do their best to make sure you have minimal discomfort. Getting an extraction does not have to be a scary experience, it can be extremely helpful and rid you of existing pain. If you think you need an extraction, talk to your dentist right away. Waiting to fix dental problems is not a good idea as they won’t heal on their own.
What Happens Before an Extraction?
Your dentist will explain which type of extraction you need and answer your specific questions. You’ll need to provide a list of all prescriptions, OTC medications and supplements you take. You’ll be asked about your medical history as certain conditions can make you more prone to infections. These include:
- Liver disease
- An impaired immune system
- Artificial heart vales
- Artificial joints
- Heart defects
- Bacterial endocarditis
It is important to discuss your existing conditions with your dentist. Your overall health is impacted by your dental health, especially when you are having an invasive procedure such as a surgical extraction. Your dentist will be able to tell you if your pre-existing condition increases your risks for complications. Other than that, be sure to ask any questions you may have about the procedure. Your dentist always wants to make sure you feel comfortable, but they can’t read minds, so you have to tell them if something is bothering you related to the procedure.
As for costs, the dental administrative staff should be able to tell you if the procedure will be covered or if you will have out-of-pocket expenses to cover. You may also want to check your dental insurance provider to confirm what types of procedures and anesthesia are covered under your plans.
What Is it Like to Recover from an Extraction?
You’ll receive detailed instructions about your post-extraction aftercare. Make sure you understand them before you leave. Better yet, make sure you speak to the dentist about this before the procedure as you may be feeling confused or tired after the procedure, making concentrating difficult.
Generally, you can expect some bleeding afterward; you will bite down on a gauze pad placed over the socket which you may have to change once or twice at home. Take painkillers and use an ice pack to reduce the pain and swelling, but be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully.
- There will be a blood clot forming in the socket. It’s vital that you don’t disturb it, as this can cause a painful condition called dry socket. To avoid this happening:
- Don’t use a straw for 72 hours as the act of sucking on a straw can dislodge the forming blood clot.
- Don’t smoke, and consider quitting for good as you heal from your extraction.
- Rest for at least 24 hours afterward, keeping your head elevated. Avoid strenuous exercise.
- Avoid eating and brushing near the extraction site until it’s healed. You can eat liquid foods and beverages until you are ready for a solid diet again.
- Don’t spit or rinse vigorously.
Some moderate pain, swelling and bleeding is normal after an extraction, but contact your dentist’s office in Gilbert if you notice:
- Unbearable pain
- Severe swelling
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Trouble breathing
What About Wisdom Teeth Extractions?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars most of us get in our late teens or early 20s. Some of us never get any wisdom teeth, which is fortunate because the teeth can be problematic. Naturally, some people have wisdom teeth that fit well in their mouth and don’t cause any problems.
Because many people don’t have room in their jaw for four extra teeth, the teeth come in crooked, partially emerge, or get trapped (impacted) under the gum. These situations can cause many dental problems, so the American Dental Association recommends wisdom teeth extractions if the patient experiences:
- Damage to adjacent teeth
- Gum disease
Because these problems can be severe, some dentists suggest extracting wisdom teeth that could become a problem. It’s easier to pull wisdom teeth in a young person’s mouth when the roots are not fully developed and the teeth have not erupted. Younger patients also heal faster and have fewer complications.
Dentists have different opinions about proactive wisdom teeth removal. You can discuss the pros and cons with your dentist so you can make the right decision in your situation.