When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?
In many cases, teeth that are broken or damaged by decay can be fixed with a filling, crown, or other dental treatment. Sometimes, though, the damage is too severe to repair, so your dentist will recommend extraction.
Before a tooth is removed, your dentist will thoroughly review your medical and dental history and take the appropriate X-rays. X-rays reveal the length, shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. From this information, your dentist can estimate the degree of difficulty of the procedure and decide whether to refer you to an oral surgeon.
Before a simple extraction, the area around your tooth will be numbed using a local anesthetic. However during a more complicated removal, called a surgical extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon may administer intravenous (IV) anesthesia, which can range from conscious sedation to general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep. If this is the case, arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure and stay with you until your sedation wears off.
Tooth Extraction Process
There are two types of extractions you might have:
After the Extraction
The most important thing to make sure you do after a tooth extraction is keep the area clean and prevent infection. Immediately after the procedure, your dentist will ask you to bite down gently on a piece of dry, sterile gauze, which you should keep in place for up to 30 to 45 minutes to limit bleeding, while clotting takes place. For the next 24 hours, you shouldn’t smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously, or clean the teeth next to the extraction site.
You can expect a certain amount of pain and discomfort following an extraction. In some cases, your dentist will recommend a painkiller or prescribe one for you. It might help to apply an ice pack to your cheek for 15 minutes at a time. You should also limit strenuous activity, as well as avoid hot liquids and not drink through a straw. Under normal circumstances, discomfort should lessen within three days to two weeks. However, if you experience prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a tooth extraction newbie, your best bet for a successful and uncomplicated procedure is to follow your dentist’s recommendations carefully before and after the procedure. Tooth extraction makes room for something better and can help keep your smile healthy and confident.
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