Dentists provide regular teeth cleanings and routine maintenance, but there may come a time when you’ll need a tooth extraction. The reasons for this procedure vary, from having a severely decayed tooth to sustaining an injury to various teeth that can’t be repaired. Below is a guide for what to expect during the procedure.
What Requires a Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction occurs when there is an infection or excessive decay. Damage may extend to the pulp, or center of the tooth where nerves and blood vessels are, which increases bacteria risk. While a root canal can help, severe infections may lead to a whole tooth removal. Those with periodontal or gum disease may have loose teeth that need to be removed.
For patients with compromised immune systems, particularly those undergoing chemotherapy, the risk of infection is high. Dentists may recommend an extraction to prevent an infection from spreading.
In some cases, there isn’t anything wrong with the tooth, but there is crowding. Usually, this is for those preparing for braces and other orthodontics. Removing teeth makes room in the mouth for straightening.
What Is the Process Like?
Dentists perform a tooth extraction as an outpatient procedure. It’s a relatively quick process that involves local or general anesthesia. Visible teeth are easier to take out with local anesthesia and simple extraction, but broken or impacted ones will require surgical extraction. A combination of local and general anesthesia may be used since they need to cut into the gum to remove the problem.
Dentists will take an X-ray to see the scope of the procedure. They may also prescribe antibiotics beforehand to stave off infection. If you feel sick, they may reschedule. It’s best to have someone available to drive you home, especially if you’re going under anesthesia.
What Is the Aftercare?
Most patients recover within a few days, especially if proper care is taken. An ice pack will reduce swelling, and rest is necessary for at least the first 24 hours. Your dentist will apply a gauze pad to reduce bleeding. Leave it in place for three hours. If the pad is soaked, apply a fresh one.
Take all prescriptions as directed to reduce pain. Avoid smoking until you’re healed. Don’t use straws and don’t rinse for at least 24 hours, as the sucking motion could disturb the clotting process.
When brushing and flossing, work around the affected area. Stick to soft foods and prop up your head when sleeping. If you feel excessive pain, bleeding, fever, or other signs of infection, call your dentist.
For Lakeville, NY, and Livingston County residents, John P. Belbas, DDS is the dentist to call for anything from tooth extraction to routine teeth cleanings. The dental office is outfitted with the latest technology for comprehensive preventive and cosmetic dentistry. The team provides a comfortable atmosphere so everyone feels at ease at all times. Call (585) 346-5220 for an appointment. Visit them online for patient information.