What to Expect When Having a Tooth Extracted

May 29, 2021 | Dental Surgery

Most people will experience a tooth extraction at some point in their lives. Whether it is the natural arrival of wisdom teeth that cause pain and overcrowding or a tooth that has decayed or been damaged beyond repair, there are times when tooth extraction is necessary. Although tooth extraction can feel daunting, the procedure with the right dentist can be easy and stress-free.

If you have an upcoming appointment for oral surgery at Dental on Central, it can help put your mind at ease to know what to expect before you come in for your procedure.

How to Prepare for Tooth Extraction

If your dentist recommends an extraction, there are ways to prepare before your appointment to help to ensure the best possible experience and outcome possible. First, give your dentist your complete medical history. Your dentist will need to know the specifics about conditions that may impact your procedure or leave you more vulnerable to infections.

Disclose any medical conditions, including impaired immunity, liver disease, congenital heart defects, joint replacements and heart valve replacements. You should also disclose a complete list of your current medications and supplements. Your dentist may require you to stop taking blood thinners during the day before your extraction, for example, to reduce the risk of bleeding.

You will also need to make arrangements for transportation home after your procedure. Local anesthetics may negatively impact your reflexes, and you should never drive after a general anesthetic. Finally, be sure to ask your dentist any questions you might have regarding your procedure, so that you fully understand what to expect during your tooth extraction.

Simple Extraction Procedure

Dentists use a simple extraction procedure for visible teeth. You can expect x-rays before your procedure and a local anesthetic applied to numb the pain. You will be awake for this procedure, but unable to feel pain. You may feel the pressure, pulling, or back-and-forth motions of the extraction, but it will not hurt. If you do feel pain, tell your dentist immediately. If you are nervous or afraid of simple extraction, the dentist may offer you sedation dentistry instead.

Complex or Surgical Extractions

If the tooth is below the gumline – for instance, an impacted wisdom tooth or broken tooth – it will require surgical extraction. For a surgical extraction, your dentist will instruct you not to eat anything for 12 hours before the procedure. When you arrive, you will receive an IV to administer intravenous anesthesia, which will make you unconscious throughout the extraction.

Your dentist may also use a combination of local and general anesthesia for the most comfortable experience. During a surgical tooth extraction, a small incision is made in your gums to access the tooth that needs to be removed. In some cases, a small amount of bone may also require removal, so that the dentist can easily extract the tooth.

What to Expect After Tooth Extraction

After your procedure, the dentist will pack gauze around the area of the tooth extraction. The gauze should remain in place for three to four hours. Replace the gauze if it becomes saturated with blood. You may apply an ice pack to your cheek to reduce swelling. Rest and relax for 12 to 24 hours, and be sure to take any medications prescribed by your dentist.

The day after your procedure, you may begin to eat soft foods. To prevent the clot from dislodging, causing a painful condition known as dry socket, do not drink through a straw, smoke or spit. Brush your teeth gently and carefully, avoiding the tender area. When you rinse, allow the water to pour out of your mouth rather than spitting it out. After 24 hours, you may gently rinse your mouth with salt water to speed healing.

Most tooth extractions go smoothly, without complications. If you experience excessive or worsening pain, fever, chills or pus drainage in the days following your procedure, call your dentist as soon as possible. You may need an emergency dental visit.

Questions About Tooth Extraction? We Can Help

If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming tooth extraction at Dental on Central, be sure to schedule a consultation to discuss your care. We can help you fully understand what to expect before, during and after your extraction so that you can arrive feeling prepared.