Tooth extractions are often viewed as a last resort to a dental issue, but they may be necessary or helpful for giving you the healthy smile you deserve. Many individuals dread tooth extraction procedures, but the truth of the matter is this: it will be over eventually, your dentist wouldn’t suggest such a procedure without cause, and you’ll likely endure more pain and suffering in the long run without going through with the extraction. To help inform yourself about the tooth extraction process and how to best prepare, here are some basic facts about the procedure and what you should expect.
Why a tooth may need to be removed
As we said before, there is likely a good reason why a dentist would suggest a tooth extraction, and it’s important to ask questions so that you feel more comfortable with your decision. Here are the two most likely scenarios that necessitate an extraction:
Infections and risks
Decayed, infected, or excessively damaged teeth may need to be removed in order to address the infection effectively. Other options may be exhausted first, such as a root canal or antibiotic treatment, but these aren’t always the best way to contain and prevent infection.
Preparatory for teeth alignment
It is common for orthodontists to recommend tooth extractions when trying to align a smile optimally. Many people are born with more teeth than average, or their jawbone structure simply doesn’t allow room for all teeth to fit uniformly.
Important preparations beforehand
Tooth extraction is considered to be a surgical procedure, and although relatively mild, it’s important that you prepare yourself for the process of the extraction and healing afterward. Here are a few things you can do beforehand to make your experience more manageable and recovery more efficient:
- Cancel your plans for the following few days
- Have someone to drop you off and pick you up from your appointment
- Keep your mouth clean by rinsing with warm salt water
- Set realistic expectations for your recovery – it usually takes a few weeks to heal from a tooth extraction procedure
- Go grocery shopping for plenty of soft foods you can eat during your recovery process
Health concerns to be aware of
Dental health is often related to blood and heart health, which is why it’s important to have a good understanding of your existing health before a dental procedure like an extraction. Here are a few important conditions and situations you should report to your dentist or oral surgeon beforehand:
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Prior surgeries, like joint replacement surgery
- Heart issues – problems with heart valves, heart disease
- Immune system deficiencies
- Infective endocarditis or other heart conditions
After care for your tooth extraction site
- Keep gauze on the wound for several house after surgery.
- Use cold compresses and ice packs to keep swelling to a minimum
- Do not use a straw – this will prevent dislodging of the natural, necessary blood clot, which helps the wound heal and prevents dry socket from occurring
- Do not smoke – it can lead to infections and slow down the healing process
- Cancel your plans and park yourself on the couch for a few days
- Be gentle with your oral care for a few days, but be sure to rinse the area with warm salt water – continue normal oral care routines, but stay away from the wound area
- Stay away from chewy, or especially hard foods – stick to soft, mild-temperature foods
Signs of complications to be on the lookout for
While understandably some pain, swelling, and mild bleeding is normal after a tooth extraction procedure, you should make sure to alert your dentist or oral surgeon if you notice any excessive bleeding later in the day after your surgery. Here are a few other situations that warrant contacting your dentist:
- Excessive nausea or inability to keep food down
- Problems breathing regularly
- The beginnings of an infection: fever, prolonged, excessive swelling, fluid oozing or discharge from the wound
How we can help
Many individuals have great trepidation about the tooth extraction process, and that’s normal – should you encounter this situation, we can help you feel more comfortable going through it. The gentle professionals here at Dental Group of Simi Valley, CA, have performed countless extractions, and our clients report success and satisfaction even years after. If you’d like to learn more about our experience with tooth extractions or would like to know more about the process, please contact one of our helpful professionals today.