Losing a tooth as an adult is never a pleasant experience, and in some cases, it can even have a physical and emotional impact. As a result, patients are naturally nervous in the weeks or days leading up to a tooth extraction procedure. Many wonder if the process is painful and what options are available for a long-term tooth replacement.
If this is how you’re feeling, you don’t have to stress. Tooth extractions are very routine, and your dental provider can recommend several options to restore your smile and bite. Know that your periodontist will make every attempt to make you as comfortable as possible during the process.
However, there are also things you can do to help the procedure go as smoothly as possible. By taking the necessary steps to prepare and following your provider’s post-surgery instructions, you’ll be well on your way to feeling like your old self.
Below, we’ll review what to expect during a tooth extraction and how you can make sure you’re prepared for your upcoming appointment:
Signs You May Need A Tooth Extraction
Nobody wants to have a tooth extracted, but sometimes it’s necessary to prevent further damage or infection. Severe tooth pain, gum disease, or extra sensitivity are signs that an extraction may be necessary. Keep in mind, your dental professional will only recommend extraction when there are no other options — he or she will do everything possible to save the original tooth. However, if the tooth has experienced significant damage or has decayed beyond the point of restoration, it will likely need to be removed.
Types Of Extractions
There are two types of tooth extractions. As its name might suggest, a simple extraction is a fairly simple procedure. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area, the tooth is then loosened before it is removed with forceps.
The second type is a surgical extraction, which is a bit more complicated. If a tooth has deep roots or hasn’t completely surfaced from the gum line, surgery may be necessary. Your periodontist will make an incision in the gums to remove the tooth. Patients are more likely to be placed under general anesthesia during a surgical extraction.
How To Prepare For A Tooth Extraction
Some patients feel a bit anxious in the days leading up to a tooth extraction, but knowing what to expect and taking steps to prepare, can help you feel at ease.
Before a tooth is extracted, your dentist or periodontist will most likely need to take digital x-rays to get a better look at the entire tooth, including its roots and internal structures. Your provider will then do a thorough review of your medical history. During this stage, it’s very important that you disclose any and all pre-existing conditions and allergies. If you have conditions that may increase the chance of infection or allergies that restrict you from taking a certain medication, your provider needs to know so they can recommend the right treatment plan.
If a surgical extraction is required, your dental provider may recommend that you be placed under general anesthesia, in which case you’ll need to take a few extra steps during the preparation process. Here is what you’ll need to do ahead of time:
- Arrange Transportation – If you are to be placed under general anesthesia, you won’t be able to drive yourself home from the appointment. Be sure to arrange transportation with a friend, family member, or neighbor before arriving at the office.
- Check With Your Insurance Provider – Your insurance may cover all or a portion of the tooth extraction. Check with both your dental and medical insurance carriers to determine how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
- Fasting for 12 hours – When receiving general anesthesia, you’ll need to refrain from eating or drinking for a minimum of 12 hours before the procedure.
- Dress Comfortably – It’s important to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Avoid wearing jewelry, or fragrances if possible. You may also want to avoid wearing contact lenses.
Depending on the complexity of the extraction, the procedure could take between 30 and 90 minutes, which means you could be sitting for a long period of time.
What To Expect After The Procedure
After a tooth extraction, the healing period is very important. Keeping the area clean is also essential. Failure to take care of the wound and keep the area clean can result in infection or a dry socket. Be sure to follow the instructions from your periodontist, which may include the following:
- Keep your gauze in place for up to 1-2 hours after the procedure.
- Take prescription pain killers only as directed by your dental provider.
- Use ice packs to reduce swelling.
- Carefully rinse your mouth with warm salt water once a day (avoid rigorous swishing).
- Do not smoke for at least 4 or 5 days.
- Avoid drinking through a straw.
- Eat soft foods until pain and swelling subsides.
- Try to take it easy for 1-2 days and avoid any strenuous activities. Rest helps promote the healing process.
Notify your dental provider immediately if you experience significant bleeding, or any signs of infection including fever, chills, headaches, or nausea.
Long Term Options Following A Tooth Extraction
If you’re having a tooth extracted, you might be worried about how you’ll restore your bite and smile following the procedure. Your periodontist can recommend some long-term replacement options following a tooth extraction including implants, bridges, and dentures. You can take comfort in knowing there are many options to help you feel like your old self.
Dental implants are a highly effective solution. They’re comfortable, reliable, and function like normal teeth. They can also last a lifetime. Be sure to ask your periodontist about dental implants.
If you have a severe case of gum disease or tooth infection, tooth extraction may be an unfortunate necessity. However, tooth extractions can be easy and painless for the overwhelming majority of patients especially when the procedure is done by a good periodontist. There are also many quality tooth replacement options available to help you get back to feeling normal again.
If you’re looking for a quality periodontal practice to perform a tooth extraction in Central Florida, schedule a consultation with Ormond Beach Periodontics and Implant Dentistry today. Our team of dental professionals is committed to providing an excellent and comfortable experience for each and every patient.