Your dentist told you to set an appointment to have one of your teeth pulled. If this is your first time having one of your pearly whites removed, you might have a few questions about the process and what to expect. Take comfort in knowing that doctors have been pulling teeth for hundreds of years and medicine has progressed to a point that getting your tooth removed should be a relatively simple procedure. Here is a simple Q and A to help you know what to expect.
Why are teeth removed?
There are a number of reasons to pull a tooth. Some of the most common causes for a tooth extraction are:
- Risk of infection
- Periodontal Diseases
Will it hurt?
Typically having a tooth removed shouldn’t be a very painful process. Your dentist will numb your mouth around the area that your tooth will be extracted from. Once they are certain the numbing agent has taken effect they will then begin the process of removing your tooth. You should only feel a little pressure, so if you start feeling pain let your dentist know. They might need to give you a little more numbing solution or allowing the solution a few more minutes to take effect.
What is the typical procedure?
There are two main processes for removing a tooth. If your tooth is above your gums and easily accessible then your dentist should be able to perform a simple extraction. If, however, your tooth is below the gumline or has broken off, your dentist may need to perform a surgical extraction. The following extraction explanations are provided by healthline:
- Simple Extraction – “You will receive a local anesthetic, which numbs the area around your tooth so you’ll feel only pressure, not pain, during the procedure. The dentist then uses an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to remove it.”
- Surgical Extraction – “You will likely receive some kind of anesthesia. With general anesthesia, you will remain unconscious during the procedure. The general dentist or oral surgeon will cut into your gum with a small incision. They may need to remove bone around your tooth or cut your tooth before it can be extracted.”
Are there any risks involved with having my tooth removed?
Just like with most medical procedures, there are a few risks to consider when going in to have a tooth removed:
- Dry socket
- Bleeding that lasts longer than 12 hours
If you experience any of these conditions then you should let your dentist know as soon as possible so the problem can be taken care of before it has a chance to cause any real issues.
How long does it take to recover?
Recovery time will typically vary depending on the tooth that you’re having pulled, but you’ll likely be back to normal within a few days. To help you have a safe and speedy recovery here are a few suggestions provided by WebMD:
- Take prescribed painkillers.
- To reduce bleeding, allow a clot to form in the tooth socket by biting firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist.
- Apply an ice bag to the affected area. Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time.
- Limit activity for the next day or two after the tooth extraction.
- Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket.
- After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
- Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
- Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the extraction.
- When lying down, prop your head with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid the extraction site. Doing so will help prevent infection.