Sometimes, a tooth extraction is your best option to treat a badly damaged tooth. And you have two types of extractions from which to choose.
Your dentist will almost always prefer saving your natural tooth with a filling or crown over tooth extraction. However, an extraction is the best option if a tooth is so severely decayed or broken. Removing a badly damaged tooth can prevent further deterioration of your oral health. In addition, impacted wisdom teeth are often extracted, or a tooth may be pulled to relieve overcrowding and make way for orthodontic treatment.
Whatever the reason, a tooth extraction may seem scary. But it’s one of the most frequently performed and safest dental procedures today. If you’re facing a tooth extraction, your dentist will guide you through the process. In the meantime, here’s an overview of what to expect.
What to expect during a tooth extraction
Before the procedure, your dentist will note your health history and any medications you take. An X-ray will present a clearer picture of the tooth and surrounding bone.
You should feel no pain during a tooth extraction, as your dentist will inject a local anesthetic into the gums around the tooth. The anesthesia level depends on the procedure’s complexity and your pain tolerance. If you need only light sedation, you’ll be given nitrous oxide or “laughing gas.” You can drive yourself home after the extraction.
For more complicated extractions, conscious sedation (you’ll be awake but not feel anything) or general anesthesia through an IV will put you to sleep. In those instances, you must arrange for someone to drive you home afterward.
Getting a tooth pulled can either be through a simple or surgical extraction. Let’s briefly review each.
Simple extraction. A simple extraction pulls a completely erupted tooth. With an instrument known as an elevator, the dentist extracts the tooth from its socket with dental forceps.
Surgical extraction. If a tooth has fractured at the gum line or remains impacted within the bone, it will be removed during a surgical extraction. These complicated extractions are reserved for oral surgeons, who first make an incision into the gum line to gain access to the tooth. The surgeon then takes out the tooth and stitches up the gums.
After extraction, the socket is cleaned and disinfected. In some cases, you may need a bone graft to prevent bone loss.
What to expect after a tooth extraction
You can expect minor sensitivity and pain for about two to three days after the extraction. Take prescribed pain medication or over-the-counter pain reducers. Applying an ice pack to the affected area can also reduce discomfort. To promote healing, your dentist may provide these instructions:
Keep the gauze pad on the site. Your dentist will place a gauze pad on the extraction site and tell you to bite down gently on it for the next 45 minutes. This is an essential part of the recovery because the gauze helps a blood clot form. Without a clot, a painful dry socket may develop. The gauze also absorbs any minor bleeding.
Be gentle around the extraction site. Keep the site clean, and don’t brush or floss around the area until your dentist gives you the okay. You can rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash or warm water and salt.
Eat soft foods. Pasta, yogurt, applesauce, eggs, and mashed potatoes won’t aggravate the extraction site, but hard, crunchy foods or beverages at hot or cold temperatures will. Avoid sipping through a straw. Doing so may dislodge the clot.
Take it easy. You can return to work in a day or two but skip any strenuous exercise or activities to reduce the risk of bleeding. Wait until you’re fully healed.
Monitor the extraction site closely. Contact your dentist if you notice any excessive bleeding, see pus, or have a fever. However, the risk of complications from a tooth extraction is very low. After you heal, your dentist will discuss whether to replace the missing tooth with an implant, bridge, or denture.
Need a tooth pulled? Come see Espire Dental
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Oklahoma City, OK, location today! Our highly trained dentists will decide if an extraction is needed and make the procedure as pleasant as possible. Don’t live near our Oklahoma City, OK, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
Oklahoma City, OK
12448 St Andrews Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73120