Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 24-06-2020
Infections, severe tooth decay, wisdom teeth, and crowded growth — there’s only one way to solve these dental problems. Tooth extraction sounds extremely painful, but it’s necessary to prevent the worsening of the condition. When delayed or avoided, you risk spreading the infection to other healthy teeth, which may also need to be extracted before they fall off.
A tooth extraction is the last option, when it can’t be put off any longer. Aside from preventing further tooth decay or even bone loss in the jaws, it’s also a necessary first step for anyone who needs to lose a tooth or two to make room for braces.
Because oral health is overall health, a dental extraction may be required for patients undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant, or other treatments. This is in which compromised teeth need to be removed to keep the mouth healthy and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and diseases.
Did your dentist prescribe a tooth extraction? Here’s everything you need to know to prepare, recover faster, and prevent other dental problems later on:
How is tooth extraction done?
Like any dental procedure, tooth extraction is performed by a certified dentist or oral surgeon. Thanks to modern medicine, it’s a relatively quick and painless outpatient procedure done with local, general, or IV anesthesia.
Keep in mind, though, that a tooth extraction is best for decayed, infected, or crowded teeth — broken, impacted, or misaligned teeth growing below the surface of the gums may require a more invasive procedure to fix.
How should I prepare for a tooth extraction?
It’s normal to be nervous before undergoing a tooth extraction, but following your dentist’s orders makes all the difference for a smooth and fast recovery. Make sure to come in for the scheduled check-ups prior to the extraction, as your dentist will need to take X-rays that will help them plan for a safe and smooth dental procedure.
This is also a good time to tell them about any medications, vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs you’re currently taking. As well, any other medical conditions, such as a congenital heart defect, diabetes, liver disease, thyroid disease, hypertension, and others, to prevent complications.
Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics prior to the extraction if the dental procedure is expected to take long. Also, if you currently have an infection or a specific medical condition, and if you have a history of a weakened immune system.
On the Day of the Dental Extraction Procedure
There are a few things to keep in mind on the day of your tooth extraction to ensure its success and your overall comfort.
As a basic rule, avoid eating or drinking 6-8 hours prior, and refrain from smoking. You may also need to wear short-sleeved or loose-fitting clothing if your dentist has indicated IV anesthesia; if you are receiving general anesthesia, make arrangements for a family member or friend to bring you home.
To prevent complications, it’s best to inform your dentist if you have a cold so they can reschedule, as well as if you experience vomiting or nausea the night before so that they can arrange for a different type of anesthesia.
How is a tooth extracted?
Depending on the condition that requires a dental extraction procedure, your dentist may opt for either a simple or surgical extraction. Your dentist will check whether the tooth is visible or impacted.
A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the surrounding area. All you’ll feel is light pressure and no pain during the procedure. Your dentist will use an elevator to loosen the tooth from its socket, and forceps to remove it.
Your dentist may administer a combination of local and IV anesthesia to numb the area and put you to sleep or general anesthesia if you have pre-existing conditions. Once these are safely administered, your dentist or oral surgeon will cut into the affected gums with a small incision, and may even remove surrounding bone or cut the tooth to extract it.
What are the risks of tooth extraction?
As this dental procedure is widely practiced to treat decayed, infected, or impacted teeth, it’s generally safe and effective. Because dentists and oral surgeons have been doing this for a while, you can rest assured that there is only a small chance of complications.
It’s normal for a blood clot to form in the socket the affected tooth is extracted from. This promotes fast healing and recovery. If a clot doesn’t form or is dislodged, the bone inside the socket is exposed, which is called a dry socket. Call your dentist the moment this happens, so they can protect the exposed area with a dressing to help a new blood clot form.
Aside from a dry socket, you should contact your dentist right away if you experience bleeding that lasts for more than 12 hours, fever and chills, nausea or vomiting, cough, chest pain and shortness of breath, and swelling or redness. These indicate an infection or a complication that needs to be treated right away.
What is the recovery like after a tooth extraction?
It may sound scary, but tooth extraction is a simple procedure. It only takes a few days to recover from it, but only if you do your part to ensure a smooth recovery.
Immediately after the dental tooth extraction procedure, your dentist will place a gauze pad over the extraction site. You’ll be instructed to bite down on it to reduce bleeding and allow the clot to form. Make sure that the pad stays on for 3-4 hours, or until it’s soaked. You’ll also need to apply an ice pack to your cheek for 10 minutes at a time to reduce swelling.
Avoid any strenuous activity for the next 24 hours after the procedure; take this time to rest, ideally with a pillow to prop your head when you lie down. Avoid using straws, smoking, and eating anything other than soft foods.
Make sure to keep your mouth clean — brush and floss like normal, but take care to avoid the extraction site and instead rinse using a half-teaspoon of salt added to warm water.
Make sure to take any medication you are prescribed, including painkillers, and keep an eye out for signs of an infection such as fever, pain, or pus. Let your dentist know if you experience them to prevent further complications. Follow these aftercare instructions for a smooth recovery, and restore your strong and healthy smile in no time.
To learn about this dental procedure and get helpful tips to ensure its success and a smooth recovery, call Milltown Dental in Toronto at 905-878-8528 or contact us here.