If you have a tooth that has been badly damaged by decay or periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend having that tooth extracted in order to alleviate pain and prevent any infection from spreading.
In the long run, extraction usually brings relief. But the idea of having a tooth removed from your jaw can be a little intimidating. To help calm your nerves and ease your apprehension, take a look at these answers to questions patients often have about tooth extraction and the follow-up to this procedure.
Will the Extraction Hurt?
Your dentist will administer anesthesia to ensure you don't feel pain during the extraction. Usually, anesthetic is injected into the nerve closest to the tooth, numbing the area your dentist will be working on. You will feel pressure and pulling during the procedure, but you should not feel pain.
For more complicated extractions and for patients with dental anxiety, dentists sometimes use intravenous anesthesia during the procedure. In this case, you will be unconscious during the extraction and will wake up when it's over.
How Will the Dentist Remove the Tooth?
Most extractions are done in two steps. First, a tool called a dental elevator is used to expand the area in which your tooth sits. Basically, your dentist wiggles the elevator around the area, creating more space around the tooth and also loosening the ligaments that anchor the tooth to the jawbone.
When enough space has been created, your dentist will grasp the tooth with an instrument called forceps and remove it from your mouth.
Once the tooth is out, your dentist may remove any infected tissue from the empty space, rinse the area with a saline solution, and possibly place a stitch or two in the gum tissue. He or she will then pack gauze around the extraction site, give you aftercare instructions and send you on your way.
When Can You Have the Tooth Replaced?
Your dentist will probably discuss your tooth replacement options with you before the extraction appointment. In most cases, a dental implant will be recommended. An implant consists of a metal plate that's inserted into your jawbone, along with a false tooth or "crown" to replace the visible portion of the missing tooth.
Dental bridges, which replace only the visible portion of the tooth, may also be recommended, depending on your oral health.
In either case, you will generally need to wait about three months for your extraction site to heal before having the tooth replaced. However, some dentists are beginning to offer immediate dental implants, which are put into place as soon as the natural tooth is extracted. Your dentist can evaluate your oral health and let you know if an immediate dental implant is a viable option for you.
How Can You Manage Pain Post-Extraction?
Discomfort following a tooth extraction is often less serious than most patients imagine. If you take a dose of ibuprofen, while your mouth is still numb after the extraction, this should keep the pain from becoming too severe. Continue taking any non-aspirin type of pain reliever, as recommended by your dentist for about three days after your procedure.
Another effective way to manage post-extraction pain is by rinsing with salt water. Dissolve a spoonful of salt in a cup of warm water, and gently swish it around in your mouth. The salt helps keep the healing site clean and also relieves some inflammation. Don't start this rinsing procedure until the day after your extraction; then start rinsing about four times a day.
Having a tooth extracted is not nearly as scary as it may sound. This is a very routine dental procedure, and your dentist will do everything they can to make the procedure and the recovery as comfortable as possible. If you have any additional concerns about your upcoming tooth extraction, contact the experts at Palmetto Denture Care, PA.