In the interest of establishing and maintaining optimal oral health, your dentist will normally strive to help you protect the structure of your natural teeth. However, there are some instances where the removal of your natural teeth is actually necessary to your oral health, especially if these teeth are crowding other teeth or are damaged beyond repair. When this is the case, your dentist will recommend a routine tooth extraction.
Tooth Extraction Procedure
Tooth extraction may sound like a scary, complex dental procedure, but it’s actually simple, quick and usually completely painless. Furthermore, when it is performed for the right reasons it often results in improved oral comfort, especially when one is suffering from chronic pain and infection.
Prior to the procedure, your dentist will perform a thorough examination (possibly including x-rays), and will discuss with you exactly why tooth extraction is the best option for you. This is the time to ask any questions you may have or discuss your concerns with your dentist.
Once tooth extraction has been determined as the appropriate solution to restore your oral health, your dentist will:
- Administer local anesthetic. In order to ensure that the procedure is as comfortable for you as possible, your dentist will administer local anesthetic to numb the tooth. The discomfort related to receiving this shot can often be reduced or eliminated by the application of topical anesthetic to the injection site prior to injection.
- Expand the tooth socket. Your dentist will need to make room in the socket in order for the tooth to smoothly leave the socket, and this is accomplished by expanding the socket. He will do this by gently moving the tooth back and forth using a dental tool called an elevator.
- Extract the tooth. In some cases, expanding the socket with an elevator is all it takes to be able to extract the tooth. In other cases, your dentist will need to use forceps in order to remove the tooth from the socket, rocking and twisting it to detach it from ligaments.
- Close the extraction site. As is needed, your dentist will remove any infected tissue from the socket, clean it with saline solution to remove any remaining fragments, inspect it for sharp bone edges that need to be trimmed or filed, compress the sides of the socket to help control bleeding, use materials to assist with clotting, stitch the extraction site closed or have you bite down on gauze to create pressure and force clotting. What is necessary and prudent depends upon your specific situation and what will best help speed the healing process.
You should not feel any pain during the tooth extraction procedure, but you will feel pressure. In the case that you do feel pain, you should immediately let your dentist know. He will likely pause at that point in the procedure and administer more anesthetic as necessary to eliminate the pain you are experiencing.
Following Tooth Extraction
It is important to take good care of a tooth extraction site so that it heals well and comfortably. Following a tooth extraction you should:
- Rest. Your body is actually quite capable of healing well if given enough rest to do so. Take the time to rest and relax after you’ve had a tooth extraction.
- Control bleeding. Your dentist will recommend that you use clean gauze to control bleeding, should the area continue to bleed for some time after extraction. Of course you should also reach out to your dentist if you feel bleeding has continued past the point he told you to expect.
- Don’t rinse for twenty-four hours after extraction. Even gently rinsing your mouth is a bit too much for the area to handle right after you’ve had a tooth extraction, so wait twenty-four hours and then rinse gently three to four times a day, especially after meals.
- Don’t brush the extraction site. Brushing the extraction site while it is healing can slow the healing process and cause pain and irritation. Instead, brush around it, leaving it untouched.
- Eat soft foods. This will help to ensure that nothing hard or sharp brushes against the extraction site and causes pain and irritation.
- Avoid coughing and sneezing. If you can suppress your sneezes and coughs, that would be best, as these somewhat violent oral actions can disturb the healing process.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption. Both smoking and alcohol consumption can slow the healing process and increase your risk of infection.
Full recovery from tooth extraction normally takes three to four weeks, though it can occur sooner if you take very good care of the site, your oral health and your general health.
For more information about tooth extractions, contact Today’s Dental now.