What to Expect When Getting Your Tooth Pulled
When you were a child and you had a loose tooth, the easiest way to remove it was to simply yank. It was quick and relatively painless.
As an adult, tooth extraction (or pulling a tooth) is a touch more complicated because adult teeth are not meant to come out. When you were younger, your teeth were falling out anyways and loose. Adult extraction requires a dentist.
A number of people have excessive fears when it comes to tooth extraction. But knowing what to expect can decrease those fears. Tooth extraction is a safe and effective treatment.
Reasons for Tooth Extraction
Your teeth are important to the overall wellness of your body. So why get one pulled? There are a number of potential reasons. Here are just a few:
Decay and Broken Teeth: Neglected teeth can develop decay, making them weaker and more susceptible to breakage. Eating hard candy, falling, or other trauma can lead to a break. Broken teeth are painful and often need to be removed.
Crowding and Braces: As the saying goes, twos company and threes a crowd. Well, in your mouth 32s company and anything more is just crowded. It’s not common to have extra, or supernumerary, teeth but it does happen. Getting rid of the extra teeth reduces pain caused by overcrowding.
If you need of braces, the orthodontist may pull a tooth to make sure your mouth has room to adjust. Pulling one tooth will give the rest of your teeth room to move.
Infection: There are a few causes to tooth infection. Severe decay or a broken tooth can lead to a painful infection. If you have severe tooth pain, it is important to see your dental provider immediately.
The tissue around your teeth can develop an infection as well, especially if you have gum disease such as gingivitis. This can jeopardize the teeth in the area. Additionally, if your immune system is weak, the risk of tooth infection increases.
What to Expect at the Dentist
First things first, you need to find a dentist you trust. Trust is the key to easing fear. Trusting a dentist requires regular visits and check-ups to build a working relationship.
The first thing the dentist or one of their trained staff does is take x-rays. This helps the dentist assess your teeth and jaw. Your dentist will explain what he sees in the x-ray and your possible treatments.
If extraction is right for you, they will discuss the process with you to make sure you understand. If the procedure is for a tooth that can be seen in the mouth, meaning it’s not below the gums, the first thing the dentist will do will be to numb the area.
This begins with a topical anesthetic to numb the surface of areas that receive injections. Then the dentist will inject your gums with a more powerful anesthetic that will completely numb the site for several hours. General anesthetics can be used if more than one tooth is going to be pulled or if the tooth is still under the gums, but this will depend on your dentist and your dental needs. If general anesthetics are used, you will sleep through the procedure.
The procedure itself is relatively simple. The dentist or oral surgeon will cut down the gums and other tissue that hold the tooth in place. Using forceps, he or she will gently rock the tooth back and forth until it is loose enough to slide out.
Teeth that are more stubborn are sometimes broken and removed in more than one piece.
Once the tooth has been removed, the gums are sewn together using self-dissolving stitches and packed with gauze. This helps the blood clot, which prevents infection.
Before you leave, your dentist will usually give you some more gauze, a prescription for painkillers and/or antibiotics, and written instructions for at-home care. If general anesthetics were used, you may need someone else to drive you home.
What to Expect After Extraction
When you get home, it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions to care for your stitches and prevent infection.
After a few hours, the anesthetic wears off and you will probably feel some pain and swelling. This is completely normal and goes away in a day or two. Take painkillers as prescribed and consider eating soft foods until the areas feels better. If you experience severe pain and painkillers don’t help, call your dentist immediately.
To prevent infection, you will still have to practice good oral hygiene (avoiding the stitches) and change the gauze as instructed by your dentist. And avoid using straws for the first 24 hours or so to protect the blood clot.
You may need to schedule a follow up visit with your dentist or oral surgeon to make sure the healing process is proceeding the way that it needs to.
Having a tooth removed doesn’t have to be intimidating. Dentists and oral surgeons are highly trained and go great lengths to calm and assuage fears. They are here to help you feel better.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, or just in need of dental care, contact your local dental care professional.