At your last cleaning, your dentist said the words that no patient wants to hear: we’re going to have to extract that tooth. You may have an idea in your head of what an extraction is like, but this could be far from reality.
Whether you’re getting rid of troublesome wisdom teeth, reducing crowding in your mouth, or removing a decayed tooth, you might want to learn more about extractions. Here’s what you should know before your appointment:
Types of Tooth Extractions
Simple extractions are performed when you can grab the tooth from above the gumline. A fully developed tooth can be removed via a simple extraction. Your dentist will use forceps to get a firm grip on the tooth and pull it from the gums.
On the other hand, surgical extractions are when you can’t simply clamp the tooth to remove it. The dentist will need to make an incision and remove tissue to extract the tooth. This procedure is often necessary with broken teeth or impacted wisdom teeth that haven’t grown through the gum line yet.
Before Your Extraction
Various conditions may cause complications during an extraction, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of an infection. Before your appointment, be sure to inform your dentist about your medical history.
During the Procedure
Your treatment will be different depending on whether it’s a simple or surgical extraction. In some cases, a dentist will refer you to a specialist for your extraction(s).
Local anaesthesia will be used to numb your mouth and make the procedure painless. You can still expect to feel pressure when the tooth itself is being pulled, but it shouldn't cause pain. If you choose to receive general anaesthesia or an anti-anxiety medication during the treatment, you’ll need someone else to drive you home afterward.
In the socket where the tooth was, a blood clot will begin to form. This is an important part of the healing process; it protects the nerves and bone at the extraction site.
To slow the bleeding, the dentist will give you a piece of gauze to place over the socket. This will help the blood clot form and protect the gums as they heal.
Recovering from an Extraction
During your recovery, it’s important to abstain from smoking or drinking with a straw. These activities increase the risk that you’ll develop a dry socket, which can be incredibly painful.
Try to limit any physical activity after your extraction—your body needs to recover, so take it easy.
To bring down the swelling, you can place an ice pack against your cheek and take ibuprofen. You can also rinse with salt water a few times each day. Be sure to avoid chewing on the extraction site.
The recovery process looks a bit different for everyone. If you notice symptoms like a fever, intense pain, excessive bleeding, pus, or a dry socket, we recommend that you call your dentist as soon as possible.
Tooth extractions can relieve pain from an infected tooth, free up room for braces, and prevent issues with wisdom teeth. Parts of the process can be unpleasant, but the result is a healthier mouth.
If you’re looking for dentists in Winnipeg, call EK Dental! Our dentists have extensive experience and training with oral surgery in Winnipeg. We can also install a replacement tooth following your procedure, like a dental implant or bridge. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.