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Posted on: November 4, 2021
What to Expect With a Tooth Extraction
If you need a tooth extraction, you’re probably dreading the experience. You’re not alone, more than 75 percent of adults agree with you, and there’s even a word for it: odontophobia. Since the dentist’s office is full of noisy power tools – including the high-speed drill – and very sharp medical instruments, it’s understandable that you’d be fearful of it. However, understanding why you need the procedure, what’s involved, and the recovery process can make a huge difference in your attitude toward your upcoming tooth extraction.
When you have a tooth that’s cracked, broken, loosened, or badly decayed, there may be no option other than extraction. Usually, a dentist will do everything possible to save a tooth, but if that’s not possible, then extraction is the only alternative. A tooth extraction is defined as the removal of a tooth from its socket in the jawbone, which makes it sound much less terrifying.
When you get a tooth extraction, your dentist will ask you questions about your medical history, your prescription medications, and your over-the-counter supplements. Don’t be reluctant to provide this information, it’s necessary so that your procedure will have the best outcome possible.
Your tooth extraction procedure will begin with an x-ray. This will provide your dentist with information about the best method of extraction and any complications that might arise. They’ll also discuss sedation methods with you and the two of you will decide on the best sedation for your unique needs. If you develop a cold, nasal congestion, nausea, or vomiting during the week preceding your procedure, it may need to be rescheduled, so let your dentist’s office know if any of these occur.
Before Your Tooth Extraction Procedure
Your dentist will specifically need to know if any of the following apply to you:
- Artificial or damaged heart valves
- Bacterial endocarditis
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Congenital heart defect
- Impaired immunity
- Knee or hip replacement
Tell your dentist if any of these apply to you now or if they have in the past.
Types of Tooth Extraction: Simple vs Surgical
A simple tooth extraction involves removing a visible tooth from its socket in your jawbone. The tooth is carefully loosened, and then it’s removed. A surgical extraction involves using a surgical procedure to remove a tooth that’s below the gum line. The dentist makes a small incision in the gum and removes the tooth, then sutures the site closed. Both types of procedures require local anesthesia, but a surgical extraction may also require an intravenous anesthesia. You shouldn’t feel pain during either procedure, but you may feel pressure. If you feel pain or pinching, then let your dentist know. You should arrange for transportation home after both types of procedures.
After Your Extraction Procedure
When your extraction procedure is finished, your dentist may close the site with self-dissolving sutures, pack the site with gauze, and ask you to bite down firmly. When you get home, be sure to follow these aftercare guidelines:
- Rest and avoid strenuous activities for 24 hours.
- Keep your head elevated for the first 24 hours, even while you’re sleeping.
- Maintain firm pressure on the gauze until the clot forms, which may take up to three hours. Replace the gauze as necessary.
- Apply an ice pack every 10 minutes to the outside of the jaw where the extraction took place. Don’t apply ice directly to the site, however.
- Avoid drinking through a straw, smoking, rinsing, or spitting forcibly for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, rinse with a solution of ½ teaspoon salt and eight ounces of warm water.
- Eat soft foods only for several days. Recommended foods are yogurt, soup, applesauce, mashed potatoes, and so forth. As the site heals, you can add other foods.
- Maintain good oral hygiene but avoid the site until it heals.
- Use pain medication as you need it and as directed by your dentist.
Some bleeding, swelling, and pain are normal with tooth extractions, but these symptoms shouldn’t last longer than the first four hours. If they do, then you need to notify your dentist’s office. If you experience any of the following, notify your dentist without delay:
- Chills, fever, signs of infection
- Chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath
- Severe bleeding, swelling, or pain
- Excessive discharge, redness, or swelling
- Vomiting or nausea
As your site heals, you can slowly add other foods but continue to avoid smoking, drinking through a straw, and spitting since these activities can dislodge your clot, and you’ll need to restart the healing process.
Usually, an extraction takes between one and two weeks to fully heal. After that, you can resume your regular activities and lifestyle. Be sure to resume your good oral hygiene regimen also.
Wisdom Teeth Extractions: It’s Complicated
Your wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars to erupt, and they’re located all the way back in your mouth on both upper and lower jaws. Wisdom teeth begin to appear usually in the late teens up to the mid-twenties. For some people, the wisdom teeth come in straight and cause no problem with the other teeth. For others, however, the wisdom teeth come in crooked or not at all, and they cause misalignment of the other teeth. When this happens, wisdom teeth removal is usually the solution.
Dentists are divided on the opinion of wisdom teeth removal. Many feel that preventive wisdom teeth removal will prevent many issues that can occur with wisdom teeth. Others, however, feel that the risks inherent in any procedure don’t justify removal if there are no issues that warrant removal. Ultimately, it’s an individual’s decision whether to have their wisdom teeth removed, but the American Dental Association recommends wisdom teeth removal for the following reasons:
- Development of a cyst or tumor
- Onset of gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Discomfort or pain
- Damage to other teeth
Although your wisdom teeth may not be causing a problem at the present, preemptive removal can prevent problems from occurring at a future date. Dentists cite the following as valid reasons for preemptive wisdom teeth removal:
- Wisdom teeth can be diseased without showing symptoms.
It’s difficult to predict whether wisdom teeth will be problematic, so
- it’s safer to remove them before the need arises.
- Removing wisdom teeth when a person is younger eliminates some of the issues that can arise when older adults have tooth extractions.
It’s important to find a caring and affordable Bradenton dentist who can provide you with the facts on preventive wisdom teeth removal. The important thing is to learn the facts surrounding the procedure, so that you can make the best and most informed decision possible for both your physical and your oral health.