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What Is Tooth Extraction?
While dentists focus on protecting and restoring the function and appearance of your teeth, some situations warrant the removal of your tooth or teeth. The process of removal of a said tooth from the jaw using surgical tools is termed tooth extraction.
While the procedure sounds scary and might induce anxiety in patients, it relatively is pain-free and quick. Tooth extractions are only recommended as a last-term effort to preserve your dental health.
Why Would I Need A Tooth Extraction?
Your dentist might recommend the removal of one or more teeth for the following reasons –
- Teeth that are experiencing severe decay and cannot be restored by the usual methods, i.e. root canal treatment.
- Restoring chipped or broken teeth is difficult.
- For orthodontic treatments. This is common when there is either malocclusion or overcrowding and requires making of space in the mouth.
- Teeth that have become loose owing to severe gum disease (periodontitis).
- For dental implants or dentures.
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Patients about to undergo an organ transplant.
Usually, general dentists perform tooth extractions. Oral surgeons carry out complex extractions.
How To Prepare For A Tooth Extraction
The first step before scheduling an extraction is a dental X-ray. Your dentist at Anoka Dental will perform a thorough oral examination and take X-rays of the tooth or teeth to be extracted to assess the situation. Additionally, a thorough medical history will be taken to look for risk factors. Patients suffering from diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, thyroid disorders, etc. need to get the green light from their general practitioners and should be stable enough to undergo an extraction.
Additionally, if you’re about to start a medication that contains bisphosphonate, tell your dentist. You can schedule your surgery before starting the medication otherwise you run the risk of osteonecrosis (bone death).
Your dentist might also prescribe a course of antibiotics before the extraction if –
- You expect your surgery to be time taking.
- You suffer from certain medical conditions.
- Your immune system is weak.
Moreover, to ensure quality treatment, keep the following things in mind –
- Wear shorter sleeves and don’t wear tight clothing if you’re going to get intravenous (iv) anesthesia. Additionally, avoid food and drink up to 8 hours before the procedure.
- Don’t smoke on the day of the procedure.
- Tell your dentist if you feel unwell, they might reschedule your appointment.
- If you’ve had nausea or vomiting the night before, tell your dentist.
- If your procedure will be done under general anesthesia, have someone come with you to the dental office so they can drive you home.
The Procedure Of A Tooth Extraction
Tooth extractions are of 2 types –
- Simple extractions are done when the tooth to be extracted is present and visible in the mouth. This is done using local anesthesia. You will feel slight pressure but no pain. Your dentist will proceed to remove the designated tooth with the help of small surgical instruments.
- Surgical extractions are performed if the tooth in question is not visible in the mouth (due to impaction or fracture). This might be done by administering both local and IV anesthesia to make you calmer and more relaxed. You might also be put under general anesthesia, depending on what your dentist decides. Complex extractions might warrant a bigger incision and removal of a bit of bone to remove the affected tooth.
Recovery After A Tooth Extraction
The recovery period depends on the type of extraction done. While it takes a couple of days to recover from a simple extraction, it might take longer if you had a surgical extraction. The key thing to remember is to follow the post-operative instructions strictly and carefully.
- The dentist places the gauze pad on the affected area. You must remove it only after a couple of hours. Bite down on the pad to minimize bleeding and help in clot formation.
- Apply an ice pack to the cheek after the procedure to minimize swelling.
- Take the medications as per the prescription. The pain killers will help with post-operative soreness.
- Relax for the first 24 hours, and keep your head elevated when you lie down to avoid pooling of blood.
- Avoid straws and smoking after the procedure.
- Avoid spitting and rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours.
- Eat cold, soft foods for at least 48 hours.
- Brush and floss as you normally would, but avoid the site of surgery.
- After 24 hours, start doing warm saline rinses. (Mix a half-teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and rinse.)
If you experience pain, fever, bleeding, or pus drainage from the site of infection that isn’t subsiding, schedule a visit to your dentist as soon as possible.
Risks Of A Tooth Extraction
While the benefits of a tooth extraction outweigh the cons, there is little room for risks. Complications usually arise when a patient fails to follow their dentist’s post-operative instructions to a T.
A dry socket is an immensely painful condition that might arise after an extraction. It happens when the blood clot that forms at the site of extraction dislodges. This leaves the underlying nerves and vessels exposed and is excruciatingly painful. This is difficult to manage at home and always requires professional intervention.
Other complications associated with extractions are –
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop for more than 12 hours
- Infections signaled by fever and chills
- Vomiting or nausea
- Cough, shortness of breath, or pain in the chest
- Redness and swelling at the surgical site
Get in touch with your dentist at Anoka Dental ASAP if you experience any of these symptoms. Feel free to talk to your dentist if you’re confused about the progress of your recovery.
Alternatively, if you would like us to assess your teeth or if you’re inquisitive about the condition of your teeth, get in touch with us. Call (763)-421-4002 to schedule an appointment. Anoka Dental also prioritizes patient safety, especially during the pandemic, so don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!