What You Need To Know About Having A Tooth Pulled

So you made the smart choice and visited your dentist immediately after feeling the first pangs of pain from a toothache. After a quick and easy examination, your dentist decided the best course of action was tooth extraction (tooth removal).

Just the thought of a dental extraction procedure conjures up feelings of pain and discomfort for most people. But don’t worry, we’re going to put your mind at ease by giving you some useful information about what happens when a tooth is removed.woman's teeth being worked on in dentist office

But Seriously, Does It Hurt?

We have a feeling this is the number-one thing on your mind right now, so we’re going to answer it first.

No, the procedure will not hurt.

Before extracting the tooth, you’ll be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. If you’re having more than one tooth pulled, you may be given a stronger anesthetic to help you sleep through the whole thing.

The only pain will be the tiny needle prick when applying the local anesthetic. After that, the only other sensation you should feel is the back and forth pressure when the tooth is loosened and pulled free from the gums.

Can Anything Go Wrong?

Believe it or not, a tooth extraction is a very straightforward and basic dental procedure. Before the procedure is performed, your dentist will test the areas that have been anesthetized to make sure you won’t feel any pain. If necessary, your dentist will apply more anesthetic before beginning.

If you experience even slight pain during the procedure, signal your dentist. He or she will test the effectiveness of the anesthetic and determine if more is needed before moving on.

If you’re pregnant, there’s no need to worry about the procedure or the anesthetic used. Neither is harmful to you or your baby. A study done in 2015 followed two groups of pregnant women and found there was no evidence showing dental procedures involving anesthetics caused any harm during pregnancy.

Aftercare and Recovery

After the tooth is removed, your dentist will send you home with strict instructions to ensure the socket heals quickly and effectively. These may include a prescription for a mild painkiller or a recommendation for over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen.

Other instructions will include:

  • How and when to change the gauze pad applied to the socket
  • What you can and cannot eat
  • When and how to rinse your mouth and what to rinse with

Your mouth will have to heal fully before having dentures, dental implants, or All-on-4 implants inserted.

One complication that may occur is “dry socket.” This occurs when a clot does not form in the socket or if it breaks loose or breaks down too quickly. A dry socket is dangerous because the bone below the extracted tooth is exposed to air and food, which can be very painful. If you are one of the three to four percent of patients that experience dry socket, you’ll feel it by the third day. Return to your dentist, where a medicated dressing will be applied to the socket to stop the pain and help a new clot form.

Your dentist may decide to have you take antibiotics before and after the procedure if you are at risk of developing an infection. He or she will go over your complete medical history before performing the procedure to determine if you’ll need antibiotics.

If you experience chills, nausea, vomiting, trouble swallowing, numbness in the socket area, chest pains, or excessive coughing after the procedure, notify your dentist immediately or go to the emergency room.

How Long Will It Take to Heal?

The immediate healing period will take three to four weeks. During this time, new gum tissue and bone will grow into the gap left behind. Over time, your teeth may shift into the gap. This can affect your bite and the way you chew. Your dentist may recommend filling the gap with a dental implant or dental bridge to prevent problematic shifting.

If you’d like more information on having a tooth extracted, dentures, dental implants, the All-on-4 dental procedure or the teeth in a day procedure, contact us today.

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