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Posted on: December 29, 2021
What to Expect with a Tooth Extraction
Many people don’t look forward to dental visits, even when they have a compassionate dentist in McLean. They fear the unknown, so when they hear they need a tooth pulled, their apprehension kicks in. People remember horror stories they heard about teeth extractions years ago, but modern dentistry has changed the procedure. Today, local anesthesia makes the procedure virtually painless. It’s also very quick; you’ll feel a little pressure and the tooth will be out.
Knowing what to expect before, during, and after your extraction will ease your apprehension. Ask questions about your recovery, the cost, and what type of anesthesia options are available so you know what to expect. This way you can plan your extraction so you have time to rest for a day afterward and have someone drive you home if you opt for IV sedation.
If you are still feeling anxious about a tooth extraction, talk to your dentist. Your dentist is your partner in your oral health journey. They can help explain why they have to pull the tooth and what the consequences of not pulling the tooth would be. Most dentists always prefer to save a tooth, but sometimes it just is not possible. If your tooth needs to be pulled due to oral health issues, your dentist can provide suggestions to help you avoid future problems. Your dental health is very important and impacts other aspects of your general health, so it is important to take it seriously.
What to Expect Before an Extraction
Your dentist must examine your tooth to determine what type of tooth extraction would best suit your needs. There are two types; simple and surgical. Your dentist can do a simple extraction using local anesthesia and dental tools to remove the tooth quickly. Simple extractions are only possible if the tooth is visible in the mouth. Impacted teeth that are trapped beneath the gum or teeth that have broken off at the gumline need surgical extractions. A dentist will have to cut the gum to access the tooth. You may receive IV sedation, along with local anesthetic as well. Several stitches will close the site. They are usually dissolvable ones.
Your dentist will need to know about any medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs. They may also ask about any vitamins and supplements. You will need to complete a thorough medical history, especially looking for signs of current or past:
- Defective or man-made heart valves
- Bacterial endocarditis
- Heart defects
- Artificial joints
- Liver disease
- A compromised immune system
It’s important to be thorough in listing any conditions you have. If you have any of the above conditions, your dentist will start you on antibiotics before pulling the tooth to reduce your risk of developing an infection.
You may also want to check your dental insurance coverage and talk with the dental staff about what your final costs will be to avoid any surprises.
What Will My Extraction Recovery be Like?
Typical simple extractions will usually heal in about a week if you follow your dentist’s instructions. When you leave the office, you’ll have a detailed list of instructions to follow.
- You’ll be biting down on a gauge pad over the socket to stop any residual bleeding. After a while, the bleeding will stop and a blood clot will form in the socket.
- You should rest for a least a day with your head elevated to avoid disturbing the clot.
- Take pain medication as directed. You should only need OTC pain relievers to manage pain. If your dentist prescribed an antibiotic, be sure to take it as directed.
- Use an ice pack at intervals suggested by your dentist.
- Avoid eating or chewing near the extraction site for a day. Follow a liquid diet to prevent food from getting stuck in the site. Choose nutritious foods to help keep up your energy and promote healing.
- Use a salt water rinse. Salt water prevents bacteria from invading the extraction site and gently cleans it.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can dislodge the blood clot. Smoking also delays the healing process and smoking puts harmful chemicals into the blood stream and your mouth. If you haven’t quit yet, this might be a good time to consider it.
- Don’t use a straw or do anything that would create suction and dislodge the clot.
While some pain, swelling and bleeding are normal, if you’re experiencing any of these in extremes, contact your dentist. You should also contact your dentist if you develop a fever, chills or nausea.
What Are Wisdom Teeth Extractions Like?
Most people see their wisdom teeth start to emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. These are the four molars that are in the very back of your mouth. Some people have wisdom teeth that emerge straight and don’t cause any issues. Unfortunately, many people have wisdom teeth that emerge from the gum at an awkward angle or get trapped under the gum (impacted). Impacted or partially emerged wisdom teeth can cause many problems, including:
- Damage to adjacent teeth
- Decay and gum disease
The wisdom teeth emerge straight and fit comfortably in the mouth for many people, so tooth extraction is unnecessary as long as you have room to clean them properly and they do not disrupt the placement of other teeth. Some people don’t have any wisdom teeth at all or just have one or two. However, for some, wisdom teeth emerge crooked or don’t have room to grow, which leads to dental health problems. Each year, millions of Americans have their wisdom teeth extracted.
Some dentists recommend wisdom tooth extraction as a preventive measure against the possibility of problems in the future. Other dentists don’t like to extract wisdom teeth unless they become problematic. Consulting with your dental care provider and even obtaining a second opinion is key in preparing for wisdom tooth extraction. Ultimately the decision is yours to make, but seeking the advice of a trusted, affordable dentist in McLean can make a difference in your long-term dental care.