Having teeth removed is something nearly all people will experience at some point in their life. Many will have their wisdom teeth removed in their late teens or early twenties, but some people have permanent teeth removed at a younger age in order to assist their orthodontic work. Still others will have teeth extracted later in life due to tooth impaction, excessive decay, or infection. This procedure is routine, low-risk, usually outpatient, and performed by a dentist or oral surgeon. While tooth extraction is routine, it’s normal to have questions about what’s happening during the procedure. Here, we’ve outlined a few important things to know before going in for a tooth removal!
Discuss With Your Doctor
It’s important to go over your medical history and current illness, disease, and medications with your doctor. Certain medications and illnesses may complicate an extraction, and your dentist may choose to hold off on removing a tooth if your overall health is unstable. Important medical conditions to inform your dentist of include thyroid disease, liver disease, diabetes, hypertension, renal disease, an impaired immune system, a congenital heart defect, or adrenal disease. Your doctor will work with you to come up with a plan for extraction that meets your needs!
How Will The Procedure Go?
The procedure itself will depend slightly on what kind of extraction you need—simple or surgical. A simple extraction involves local anesthetic that will numb you entirely from feeling pain, although you’ll still feel pressure. The dentist will use an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth and then remove it with forceps. A surgical extraction will involve local anesthesia, but can also call for general anesthesia which would render you unconscious during your procedure. Surgical extractions involve cutting into the gums and sometimes the bones to remove a particularly difficult tooth.
What Happens After?
Recovery from tooth extractions is relatively easy, but requires diligent health maintenance and following doctor’s orders. It is important to eat soft, liquid foods like applesauce and mashed potatoes in the days after your procedure and to treat your mouth gently. Avoid smoking, chewing tobacco, using straws, and eating solid food to help avoid dry sockets—the painful dislodging of blood clots that can leave bone and nerve endings exposed. Resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and rinsing the mouth with saltwater will also help aid recovery. Most people recover from tooth extraction within a week, although sometimes rare complications arise. Consult your doctor if bleeding lasts longer than 12 hours, you feel nauseous or begin vomiting, or if you have chest pain, excessive swelling or redness at the extraction site.
Tooth extraction will likely be part of almost everyone’s oral health journey, and it’s best to be prepared if and when the time comes for you to have a tooth removed. Your doctor will be able to answer additional questions you may have, but it never hurts to build yourself a foundation of knowledge.
If you have concerns about an upcoming procedure, or simply want to schedule your routine checkup, give us a call at Steger Smiles today to schedule your next appointment!