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What to Expect with a Tooth Extraction

If you hear your dentist in Virginia Beach say you need a tooth extraction, you’re probably imagining a painful scenario. It’s often the fear of the unknown that has people apprehensive. People may have heard horror stories from their grandparents about the pain and tugging and pulling that occurs. Fortunately, it’s not like that anymore. Your mouth will be numb and dentists have modern tools to loosen the tooth and pull it out in just a few minutes. The only thing you’ll feel is a slight pressure, like someone pushing on your jaw.

A tooth extraction is a fairly common dental procedure where the crown and roots of the tooth are extracted from the socket. There are two types of extractions; simple and surgical. Your family dentist in Virginia Beach can do a simple extraction quickly by loosening the tooth and pulling it out with special dental forceps. If there is gum tissue covering the tooth, you’ll need a surgical extraction. Either way, you’re numb and won’t feel pain. If you are awake, you may feel a little pressure, but not pain. If you do feel any pain, you can let your dentist know immediately and you’ll receive more local anesthetic.

Knowing what will happen is vital to easing your fears about having a tooth pulled. Knowing about your anesthesia options, what will happen and your costs will help you relax.

What Is the Process Before Getting a Tooth Extracted?

Your dentist will examine the tooth in question and take an x-ray first. They will then decide if you need a simple or surgical extraction and explain the reason why to you. You’ll learn about your anesthesia options as well.

Reasons your dentist will recommend an extraction include decay or damage too extensive for a root canal and crown to repair. Your teeth may be crowded; pulling a tooth may give the others room to straighten out. If a tooth is impacted and can’t break through the gum, it’s necessary to pull it to prevent infections, cysts and tumors.

Before starting the procedure, your dentist will need to know about any medications you take, including ones prescribed by your doctor and OTC drugs. This includes vitamins and nutritional supplements as well.

You’ll also need to complete a medical history form. Your dentist will look for:

  • Heart defects
  • Mechanical heart valves
  • A history of bacterial endocarditis
  • Joint replacements
  • Liver disease
  • An impaired immune system

These conditions can make you more prone to infections. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to take before the extraction.

You should check with your dental insurance company to verify your coverage. If you do not have insurance, you will want to discuss the total costs with your dentist and go over your payment options.

What Happens After Having a Tooth Extraction?

You can expect the site to heal in about a week if you have a simple tooth extraction. After your dentist pulls the tooth, he or she will place gauze over the wound to stop the bleeding. It should stop soon, but you can change the gauze if necessary when you get home. Expect some swelling and discomfort once the area isn’t numb anymore.

Plan your extraction for a time when you can rest afterward for at least 24 hours. Lie with an extra pillow to elevate your head. This will help stop the bleeding and ensure you don’t dislodge the blood that forms in the socket.

Other things you can do to avoid disturbing the clot and preventing infection include:

  • Avoid using a straw for 72 hours.
  • After the first 24 hours, you can brush if you avoid the extraction site and rinsing vigorously.
  • Eat soft, nutritious foods for at least 72 hours, carefully avoiding the extraction site.
  • Use a salt-water rinse as your dentist directs.
  • Take painkillers as directed.

Most people heal from simple extractions in a week, but everyone is different. Your tooth extraction site is healed when gum tissue replaces the blood clot and seals the cavity.

If you notice any of the following after your extraction, please contact your dentist:

  • Extreme bleeding. Some bleeding is normal, but your mouth should not fill up with blood.
  • Excessive swelling
  • Agonizing pain – the blood clot could have dislodged
  • Chills or a fever

What Are Wisdom Teeth Extractions Like?

Wisdom teeth are molars that emerge in the back of the mouth in a person’s late teens or early 20s. They are teeth our ancestors needed to chew their diet which mainly consisted of raw foods. Our diet has changed, so we don’t need wisdom teeth. In fact, some lucky people don’t get them at all. Unfortunately, our jaws have shrunk; most people don’t have room for their wisdom teeth to emerge straight.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth get trapped in the gums (impacted). If this is the case, your dentist will recommend a surgical extraction. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, infections and other issues. Wisdom teeth growing in crooked can also cause issues, like damage to adjacent teeth and decay since they are hard to keep clean. A dentist can pull wisdom teeth that are visible in the mouth. For both surgical and simple extractions, you’ll typically receive local or intravenous anesthesia. Wisdom teeth extractions can take up to an hour. Healing can take up to two weeks.

Some dentists advise wisdom teeth extractions become the teeth become problematic. There are advantages to this approach, mainly that you’ll heal faster when you are younger and you’ll be spared potential pain. There are also disadvantages, including the cost and the risk of complications. Talk the matter over with your dentist in Virginia Beach to learn about your options.

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