Nobody wants to lose a tooth. While permanent teeth often last a lifetime, sometimes the removal of a tooth is the best course of action for your oral health.
Also known as dental extractions or exodontia, a tooth extraction is a relatively routine dental procedure where a tooth is removed from the alveolar bone. The most common reasons for tooth extraction are a crowded mouth, lack of room for wisdom teeth, preparing for orthodontic treatment, infections, and trauma or injury to the tooth.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth usually come in during early adulthood, between the ages of 17 and 25, and they often need to be removed for the following reasons:
- They’re at the wrong angle, putting your other teeth at risk for pain or misalignment.
- Your mouth isn’t big enough for another set of molars.
- They’re trapped in your jawbone or gums, causing severe pain.
- They become rotten or infected due to inability to reach the back of your mouth with your toothbrush.
Preparing for a Tooth Extraction
In majority of cases, the wisdom teeth do come in at a wrong angle and will have deep periodontal pockets. The best time to take these teeth out is during the teenage years. Once it is determined that pulling the tooth is the best option, your dentist will perform an X-ray to view the tooth’s location and determine the best method for pulling it.
What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction
Before pulling the tooth, the oral surgeon administers a local anesthetic to numb the area. At Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery you can feel comfortable knowing that we have a state-of-the-art anesthesia machine and certified OS anesthesia assistance. If you need multiple teeth extracted or if the tooth is impacted, the surgeon will use a strong general anesthetic or dental sedation to put you to sleep through the procedure. In both cases, you won’t be able to feel anything, but with just local anesthesia, you may hear the surgeon working or feel pressure in your mouth.
After the tooth extraction, the oral surgeon will pack gauze into the socket and have you gently bite down to stop the bleeding. Stitches, usually self-dissolving, may then be required to close the wound.
After Care and Recovery
Tooth extraction is normally very safe and recovery is short, leaving you feeling normal within only a few days or even a few hours in some cases. But as it is a surgery, always follow your oral surgeon’s advice for a quicker recovery. Having said that, here are some general tips to speed up your recovery time and ease your discomfort:
- If a general anesthetic was used and you were put to sleep during the procedure, arrange to have someone drive you home.
- Take painkillers as prescribed.
- Alternate ice packs for swelling and moist heat for discomfort.
- Eat soft foods like soup, rice, oatmeal, pudding, yogurt, applesauce, etc. while your mouth heals.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with a solution of 8 ounces of warm water and a ½ teaspoon of salt to kill germs.
- Brush and floss your teeth as prescribed by your dentist, ensuring you avoid the extraction site.
- Do not smoke. In addition to being bad for your health, smoking can inhibit your healing.
- Do not drink from a straw the first 24 hours.
- Limit your physical activity until fully healed.
- Change gauze pads regularly to prevent bacterial infections.
Don’t Let Tooth Extraction Keep You Down
Three out of every four adults will have a tooth extracted in their lifetime. The process doesn’t need to be scary. If you feel you need a tooth extraction, contact us at Greater Atlanta Oral and Facial Surgery and make an appointment today. Let our dental professionals walk you through the process and make it as easy and painless as possible.
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