Teeth can last a lifetime, but not always. Medical conditions, poor oral hygiene, and even accidents can necessitate extractions – removal of the tooth.
How Does Tooth Extraction Work?
Tooth extraction can either be simple or surgical, depending on the steps necessary to remove the tooth safely. In a simple extraction, the crown is visible and the tooth is not impacted. Dentists administer a local anesthetic to the area around the tooth and then use an elevator instrument to loosen it before applying forceps to remove it. The anesthetic numbs pain, though you may feel pressure sensations via the jaw.
A surgical extraction may involve gum incision or mild bone removal around the tooth being removed. Impacted wisdom teeth are an example of teeth needing a surgical extraction. You can choose either local numbing or general anesthesia, or receive a sedative. After the dentist administers the drugs, you may not experience any sensations until you are brought around after the operation. Sutures may be administered as needed.
How To Prepare For A Tooth Extraction
To prepare for tooth extraction, you will require an X-ray of the affected tooth. You’ll also need to discuss your medical history and the list of any medicines or supplements that you are taking with the dentist.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Tooth Extraction?
Most people recover in a couple of days, some times more days, after a tooth extraction. It can take some time for bleeding to stop and the effect of anesthetic and sedative drugs to wear off.
How Can Patients Recover From Tooth Extraction?
To improve recovery from tooth extraction, patients should:
- Apply ice packs to cheeks for 15 mins on and 15 mins off to reduce swelling
- Rest for at least 24 hours after the procedure
- Avoid smoking or using straws for 36 hours after the procedure
- Use a pillow to prop their head when lying down
- Eat more soft foods, such as yogurts, smoothies, and soups
- Brush and floss teeth regularly but avoid coming into contact with the extraction site
- Leave the gauze (to stop bleeding from the extraction site) in the mouth for at least three to four hours
- Regularly take medications, such as painkillers or antibiotics, as prescribed
Why Do People Need Extractions?
Many teenagers and young adults get their wisdom teeth extracted. However, there are other reasons patients require tooth removal.
A tooth abscess is a leading cause. When gingivitis develops into chronic periodontal disease, bacteria slowly eat away the tooth and the socket it sits in, loosening it from its perch. Eventually, the tooth becomes so weak and infected that extraction becomes the best treatment option.
In other cases, patients require tooth extraction for orthodontic purposes. The mouth may be too crowded, causing teeth to appear crooked. Removing the tooth opens up space and enables orthodontic procedures, such as braces, to proceed.
In other cases, patients may require tooth extractions because of medical treatment. Patients undergoing chemotherapy may need prophylactic removal of problem teeth to prevent complications later on.