Tooth Extraction: The Procedure, Risks, & Recovery
There are many people out there, including both teenagers and adults, that get their wisdom teeth removed. However, there are more reasons than this that may require someone to need tooth extraction.
Large amounts of tooth decay, infection, or crowding can create the need for a tooth to be removed. If you’re looking at getting braces, you may need to get a tooth or two removed in order to create room for the other teeth while they move. Anyone who is undergoing chemotherapy or is going to undergo a major surgery may also need to have a bath tooth removed to keep their mouth and body as healthy as possible.
Any tooth extraction procedures will be performed by a dentist or oral surgeon. These are typically quick, outpatient procedures. Your dentist or surgeon will use either local, general, or intravenous anesthesia. Removing a visible tooth is a simple and straightforward procedure, but any teeth that are broken or below the surface of your gums will require a more involved surgery.
What’s The Procedure For A Tooth Extraction?
The first type of tooth extraction is known as a simple extraction. You’ll receive what’s known as a local anesthetic. This will completely numb the area around your tooth so that you’ll only feel pressure, but no pain, during the extraction. Your dentist will then use a tool known as an elevator to loosen the tooth. He or she will then use forceps to remove it.
If a simple extraction isn’t an option for you, then the next choice is a surgical extraction. For any type of mouth surgery like this, you’ll likely get both a local anesthetic and an intravenous anesthetic. The intravenous anesthesia will make you calm and relaxed. If you have any medical conditions, you could get a general anesthetic which will make you unconscious throughout the surgery.
Your oral surgeon will then cut into your gums with a small incision. There’s a possibility that the surgeon will need to remove some bone around your tooth, or even cut the tooth, before it can be extracted.
What Are The Risks Of A Tooth Extraction?
While there are some risks associated with a tooth extraction that you should know about, if your dentist recommends you get this done then the benefits likely outweigh the risks.
Usually after getting a tooth extracted, your body will form a blood clot in the socket (the hole in your jaw bone where the tooth was removed from). However, if the clot doesn’t form or dislodges, then you will get something known as a “dry socket”, or when the bone inside the socket is exposed. If you experience this, your dentist will put a sedative dressing over the socket and a new clot will form over the next few days.
While these are rare, other potential complications include:
- 12 or more hours of bleeding
- Fever or chills (indicators of an infection)
- Excessive coughing
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling and redness at the extraction site
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your dentist as soon as possible and let him or her know what’s going on.
What’s The Recovery Process From A Tooth Extraction?
Typically it will take your mouth a few days to heal up after a tooth extraction. We recommend you follow the below steps and tips to ensure that your recovery goes as smooth as possible.
- Apply an ice pack to your cheek after the surgery to reduce swelling. Use the ice pack for 10 minutes at a time
- When the gauze pad is placed over the extraction site, bite down to reduce bleeding and to help a clot to form
- Take all medications as prescribed
- Relax for the first 24 hours after the procedure
- Do not use a straw for 24 hours
- Use a pillow to prop your head up when laying down
- Brush your teeth like normal but avoid the extraction site
- For the first 24 hours only eat soft foods (yogurt, pudding, applesauce, etc.)
- Slowly reintroduce other foods into your diet after a few days
If you’re experiencing any overbearing pain that will not subside or you see anything that makes you think there could be an infection, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Some of these signs to be on the lookout for includes a fever, pain, pus, or drainage. Do not avoid going to see your dentist if you’re having these problems as they can cause other health problems and complications.