Dentists try their very best to preserve your teeth and that radiant smile. They offer different restorative and reconstructive ways to improve the health and appearance of your teeth. But, unfortunately, if their efforts do not succeed, there is no other way but to remove a decayed or damaged tooth before it causes more problems. Here are things you need to know about tooth extractions, from preparation, procedure, post-procedural side effects like tooth extraction swelling, to other considerations like tooth extraction while pregnant.
What situations warrant tooth extraction?
There are many reasons why a patient would need tooth extractions.
Severe tooth decay. A decayed tooth that cannot be restored by fillings or root canal treatment needs to be extracted to prevent further pain, the spread of infection, and damage.
Preparation for an orthodontic treatment. Malocclusion is one of the reasons why we have orthodontic procedures available to straighten our teeth. Sometimes, we need to free up space from our jaw so our teeth can move and their positions are realigned. With this, tooth extractions may be necessary.
Impacted wisdom tooth. Our wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to erupt and are found to be useless. So instead of waiting for them to cause pain and different problems like infection and malocclusion, the dentist recommends having them removed.
What to expect during tooth extraction?
Tooth extractions are considered dental surgeries, so the application of local anesthesia to numb the area is to be expected before the procedure. Some dentists use IV sedation or inhalation dentistry to relax anxious patients during the procedure.
The dentist may either pull the tooth as a whole or break the tooth in pieces especially if it is impacted. Some parts of the gum tissue will be removed and after the extraction, your dentist may place sutures over the hole where the tooth was extracted to help in sealing the wound quickly and to avoid food debris from getting inside the socket.
Take the prescribed medication. Your dentist will prescribe pain medications and other inflammatories to alleviate any discomfort post-procedure. He may also prescribe antibiotics in cases where the infection has already started so the spread can be avoided.
Take care of the extraction site. Your extraction site may be covered by gauze dressing after the procedure. Bite firmly into it to apply pressure on the wound and stop the bleeding. But if the dressing is already removed and the wound is exposed with a blood clot on top, do not remove that clot because exposing the socket can cause pain and infection, since the jawbone may be exposed and cause serious complications.
Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush and floss carefully but try not to touch the affected part for the first few days. Rinse and gargle only after the first two days to prevent bleeding and dislodging the blood clot and causing what dentists call a dry socket.
Rest. Avoid lifting heavy objects after the extraction. If lying down, use pillows and do not lie down flat on the bed. Change your diet to eating soft foods for the first week, and drink cold beverages without using a straw.
Tooth extractions may be as easy and as usual as any other dental procedure, but continue to ensure your safety and comfort all the time. If you feel that you are encountering a complication after a simple extraction, consult your dentist right away just to make sure that everything is under control.