Sometimes learning about tooth extraction can be a bit like pulling teeth - however it doesn’t have to be. Let’s go over what to expect before and after a tooth removal!
Common Reasons For Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction, the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone, is a very common dental procedure and is necessary for a wide range of reasons. One common reason is that a person’s baby teeth is blocking permanent teeth from coming in and therefore must be removed. Wisdom teeth are also commonly extracted by, or during a person’s early 20’s, and sometimes all four wisdom teeth must be extracted.
Prior to getting braces some individuals will have to have certain teeth removed. While others may experience a severely infected tooth as a side effect of a weakened immune system caused by medication or radiation therapy. Whatever the reason may be, the results are the same - tooth extraction. So let’s go over what you can expect during and after your surgery.
How many Days of Surgery are there for a tooth extraction?
The first step to expect is a good one - anesthetic! Local anesthetic will be used to numb the tooth, the surrounding gums, and your jawbone. You should never feel any pain, only pressure. During the simple extraction process the affected tooth is firmly rocked back and forth so that it's loosened for removal.
If you require a surgical extraction, the process is slightly more complex. This is necessary if your tooth hasn’t yet broken through the gum line. Your oral surgeon will make a small incision into your gum in order to access the tooth for removal. After that, the steps remain the same. You may also have a few stitches at the incision site if your surgeon decides it's necessary.
What Happens After Oral Surgery?
Once your tooth has been removed, you will be asked to bite down on a piece of gauze for 20-30 minutes to help form a blood clot at the extraction area (a critical part of the healing process). Some oral surgeons will prescribe pain medication if they decide it’s necessary, otherwise NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin) are commonly recommended to lessen any pain.
To decrease any swelling, an ice pack is generally recommended for the first 24 hours. Also, be sure to have someone you trust available to drive you home.
Once home, plan on eating only cold and soft foods for the first few days. Don’t use a straw or spit after surgery either - this can delay the healing process by potentially disturbing the blood clot. Another don’t is brushing around the extraction site for the first 24 hours. You can later clean the area by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water after meals and prior to bed.
Typically the tooth extraction site will close up in two weeks time, but it can take an additional few months for the bone and soft tissue to regrow. However, the worst is over and you can now focus on your recovery!