Tooth Extractions: Everything You Should Know

Permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but sometimes the gums or teeth are damaged or decayed so severely that they need to be removed. In other cases, teeth become too crowded or impacted to remain comfortably in the mouth. In these cases, teeth extractions (or pulling teeth) may be necessary.

How Is a Tooth Extracted?

There are two ways that dentists can extract teeth. Most commonly, removing a tooth is a simple procedure. After administering a local anesthetic, a dentist will loosen the tooth and then pull it out using special tools. Patients may feel pressure, but they should feel no pain.

If a tooth is broken off at the gumline or never grew out of the gums in the first place, the dentist will use a surgical procedure. Patients receive a stronger anesthetic or may even be put to sleep. The dentist will then make a small incision and remove the tooth from the gums. While a slightly more complex procedure, surgical tooth extraction should still not be painful during the procedure.

What Can I Expect During and After the Tooth Extraction Procedure?

If you are like many patients, you probably feel nervous about getting a tooth pulled. This is a normal feeling, but you don’t need to worry. Before the procedure, your dentist will take a full medical history and x-rays of the area, so there should be no surprises or serious complications. Your mouth will be numbed, so although you will feel something, you should feel no pain.

After a tooth extraction, you will need to take some time to rest and recover. Most dentists suggest taking at least a day off to relax and heal. This often includes icing your jaw to reduce swelling and pain. Most swelling will occur the morning after due to fluids moving toward your head while laying down overnight. Many patients take painkillers to reduce discomfort during recovery, and you may also be given antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection. You can also rinse your mouth with saltwater after the first 24 hours to help prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria. But you must rinse very gently so you don’t disturb the delicate blood clot. Instead of moving the salt water with your cheeks, try moving your head.

Depending on what kind of procedure you experience, your doctor may give you other specific care instructions. The basic idea is to protect the blood clot and to keep the socket clear. Use gauze as directed by the dentist to help control bleeding. For the first 48 hours: stay away from small particle foods including rice and popcorn, don’t put any suction in your mouth including straws and cigarettes, don’t swish water as this could dislodge the clot.

Still feeling a bit anxious about having a tooth removed? That’s totally normal. Sometimes more information can help. At Kantor Dental, we are always happy to answer any questions you may have about any procedure. Feel free to call our offices or come in to see us to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.