Tooth Extractions: What You Need to know?

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With adulthood comes your permanent teeth that are meant to last a lifetime. However, there are certain special circumstances that warrant the need to remove your tooth, such as damaged tooth caused by trauma or decay, infection, crowding of teeth, or if there are chances of you contracting an infection (periodontal disease). In such situations, tooth extraction, which is the process of removing one’s tooth, becomes a necessity, and even though this entire procedure can appear a bit overwhelming, it is a rather standard procedure that prevents dental problems from aggravating. Let’s learn more about the entire process of tooth extraction as this will help you prep yourself for it.

Preparation before tooth extraction

  • As a part of your preparation process, you must consult with your dentist or oral surgeon to give them a brief about your medical history. This includes informing them about the medications that you are currently taking since you might have to discontinue certain medicines or start new ones in the days leading up to the surgery. You might have to stop taking blood thinners to prevent bleeding during the surgery, and sometimes, start antibiotics to prevent dental infections.

  • Before tooth removal, the dentist would take the necessary X-rays to check the shape, length, and position of the tooth and the surrounding bone. This helps the dentist to determine the best way to remove the tooth or whether the condition requires the expertise of an oral surgeon.

Tooth extraction: The entire procedure explained

  • During the simple extraction, the dentist will numb the area around your tooth and the gum tissue and loosen the tooth with an instrument known as an elevator, and remove it using dental forceps.

  • In case of a complicated removal, which would be a tooth surgery, the oral surgeon would administer an intravenous (IV) anesthesia to put you to sleep.

  • In case the tooth is impacted or concealed beneath a gum tissue or bone, the surgeon would have to cut away the gum tissue or remove the area of the bone that’s obstructing the removal.

  • After successful tooth removal, a blood clot forms in the socket. To stop the bleeding, the dentist would pack the socket with a gauze pad and have you bite it down. In certain cases, the dentist might also place a few (mostly self-dissolving) stitches over the extraction site to close the gum edges.

  • There are instances when the blood clot over your socket breaks loose and exposes the bone beneath. This condition is called a dry socket and the dentist usually places a sedative dressing over the socket to protect it till new clot forms.

Tooth extraction aftercare

  • The gauze that the dentist places in the socket post the dental extraction will help control the bleeding. The gauze must remain in place for at least 20-30 minutes and should be changed when it’s soaked with blood. Since the bleeding is most likely to continue for one-two days after the surgery, you need to change the gauze accordingly to prevent infection.

  • You can continue brushing and flossing your teeth but ensure that you do not disturb the blood clotting. You can use the Oral-B iO 8 Ultimate Clean Electric Toothbrush for gentle yet superior cleansing. This electric toothbrush is equipped with six Smart Modes to personalize your brushing experience. Moreover, the Smart Pressure Sensor turns red if you are brushing too hard and turns green when the pressure is just right. To get the maximum cleaning out of flossing, without disturbing the clot, you can also use Oral-B Essential Floss, which slides easily between your teeth owing to its light wax coating and shred-resistant texture. It cleans tough-to-get plaque without any hassles.

  • The anesthetic wears off after a while and you might start experiencing pain again. Your dentist would prescribe medications to alleviate this pain and inflammation. You can also apply an ice pack to your cheek to reduce the swelling.

  • Another important thing to remember is to avoid disturbing the site of tooth extraction. If you disturb or irritate the clot that forms post the dental removal process, it can slow down the healing process. So, you should avoid touching the area, or sucking on the extraction site, using a straw, spitting, eating solid or crunchy food, rinsing the mouth, smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, or using a mouthwash that contains alcohol.

Tips for maintaining oral health

  • To prevent tooth decay or any other dental issue, you must brush twice a day. You can use advanced dental products from Oral-B to protect your teeth and gums, and experience gentle yet effective brushing.

  • Avoid sugary foods or drinks as they get stuck between your teeth and turn into a breeding ground for bacteria. It can increase the chances of tooth decay, which, if left unchecked, can cause severe tooth damage.

  • If you are at risk of developing cavities, your dentist would recommend using a mouth rinse with fluoride.

  • Consider eating healthy food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables that increase the saliva flow and avoid foods that can get stuck between your teeth for long periods. You can chew sugar-free gum to wash away food particles.

  • Visit your dentist regularly. Ensure that you get professional teeth cleanings and regular oral exams to prevent any dental problems or spot them early on.

Tooth extraction can be a stressful process, but it’s essential to protect the rest of your teeth. You need to practice good dental care habits to avoid the pain and discomfort that follows tooth removal, and what’s more? You don’t have to shell out money to cover tooth extraction costs if you care for your precious pearly whites from the beginning.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is tooth extraction a painful process?

    Removing a tooth is a painful process, especially if it’s an impacted one. However, before the tooth surgery, the dentist would administer local anesthesia to the area around the tooth to numb the pain. Once this anesthesia wears off, you might experience some swelling or residual bleeding for the next 24 hours.

  2. How long does it take for one to recover from a tooth extraction?

    It takes about a week or two to completely recover from tooth extraction. If you experience fever, intense pain in the jaw or gums, or numbness in the mouth, it is vital that you consult your dentist and get to the root cause of these symptoms.

  3. Which foods should one eat after a tooth extraction?

    When the healing process kicks in, it’s advisable to eat soft foods, such as yoghurt, soup, or pudding. As and when the extraction heals, you can add more solid foods to your diet. However, consider sticking to soft foods at least for a week post tooth removal.