Tooth Extraction – Preparation, Procedure, Risks and Recovery


Teeth are an essential part of human body that is used for cutting and chewing food. While many people (mostly teens and also some adults) get their wisdom teeth extracted, however there can be numerous other reasons for tooth extraction like excessive tooth decay, tooth infection and crowding. Installation of braces may also require removal of some teeth to make room for braces. Moreover, patients undergoing chemotherapy or are about to have an organ transplant may require compromised teeth removal, in order to keep their teeth in healthy condition. Usually the dentist performing the tooth extraction gives a local, general, intravenous anesthesia, or a combination. Visible teeth that are in the front of the mouth are easy to extract, compared to the teeth that are broken, below the surface and on the corners of the mouth.

Preparation of tooth extraction:

Before tooth extraction, an x-ray of your tooth is generally taken, to examine the tooth in detail. Make sure that you inform your dentist about all the medications that you take including supplements as well. Apart from this, make sure you provide the detailed reports of any health issue that you had been treated for in the past or being treated in the present. Your dentist may want to ensure that all your health related conditions are stable before you undergo tooth extraction. Your dentist may prescribe an anti-biotic to you if your surgery might go too long, or you have an infection or you have a weakened immune system or you have any other specific medical condition.

Common measures to take prior to tooth extraction:

1. Wear loose fitting clothes and don’t eat 6-8 hours before your appointment.

2. Don’t smoke or drink prior to tooth extraction.

3. In case you have cold, nausea or vomiting, tell your dentist, who may reschedule your appointment.

4. In case, you are given general anesthesia, have someone with you to drive back home.

Procedure for tooth extraction:

There are 2 types of tooth extraction:

1. Simple Extraction:

You will receive a local anesthetic, which numbs the area around your tooth that needs to be extracted. Once that is done, you feel only pressure, not pain, during the extraction. After the anesthesia has done its work, the dentist then uses an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to remove it.

2. Surgical Extraction:

In surgical extraction, you are likely to receive both local anesthesia and intravenous anesthesia, the latter of which makes you calm and relaxed. General anesthesia may also be given, depending on any medical conditions. General anesthesia keeps you unconscious during the procedure. The dentist may cut your gum. They may need to remove the bone around your tooth or cut your tooth before extracting it.

Risks of tooth extraction:

Although tooth extraction is a very common dental activity, sometimes, it may come with certain risks. However the benefits far outweighs the risks and hence if your dentist recommends tooth extraction, you must consider it.

Following are the risks of tooth extraction:

1. Formation of dry socket, which is a blood clot not formed or dislodged in the socket after tooth extraction. If this happens, dressing will be done for few days to protect the area. During this time, a new blood clot will form.

2. Bleeding that lasts longer than 12 hours.

3. Sever fever and chills indicating an infection.

4. Nausea or vomiting.

5. Cough.

6. Chest pain or shortness of breath.

7. Swelling or redness at the operated area of mouth.

If you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, contact your dentist, who will be able to deal with them properly.

Recovery from tooth extraction:

It usually takes a few days to recover from tooth extraction. Following steps can be taken after the tooth extraction to make the recovery phase go smoothly:

1. Apply ice to your cheek directly to reduce swelling.

2. Take any prescribed medications including painkillers to recover from the after effects of tooth extraction.

3. Take proper rest at least for 1 day after the tooth extraction. Don’t jump back to your regular routine immediately after tooth extraction.

4. Don’t use straw for first 24 hours.

5. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol for first 24 hours.

6. Don’t rinse for 24 hours after tooth extraction. Only spit gently.

7. Don’t put pressure on the operated area while you lie down on bed.

8. Brush and floss your teeth normally, but avoid the extraction area.

9. The day after the extraction, eat only soft, cold and non-spicy food.

10. After 24 hours, you can rinse with warm water with salt added in it.

11. As you heal after few days, you can start introducing other foods in your diet.

If the pain doesn’t go after few days of extraction, consult the doctor again and get proper treatment.

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Author: Sunny

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