Preserving a tooth as long as possible with crowns, fillings, or root canals is always the goal at our office, but sometimes a tooth became so decayed and damaged beyond repair that extraction is inevitable. Having a tooth pulled can be somewhat concerning to our patients, but extraction is a highly routine procedure with little risk to you. When a tooth needs to be removed, we here at Wendy Sanger DMD Cosmetic + Family Dentistry take great care to minimize any pain or discomfort associated with the procedure.
What to Expect During a Dental Extraction
Many of us have blurry memories of losing teeth during our childhood, and some of us may have engaged in (highly dangerous and not recommended) methods of removing a loose tooth at home, such as yanking on it with a string. When we were kids, losing a tooth was an exciting ordeal and was followed by promises of a visit from the tooth fairy. However, as adults, extraction is a slightly more serious procedure in our clean and sterile office.
If your tooth is damaged beyond salvation, we will advise extraction. We may take x-rays first to help us understand the tooth and the best way to remove it. First, we'll numb the area thoroughly to ensure that you do not have any pain during the extraction. To remove the tooth, we may take one of two approaches:
|Simple extraction. A simple extraction involves using two tools, a device called an elevator and another called forceps. To remove your tooth, we will start with using the elevator to loosen the tooth. Next, we will grasp the tooth with the forceps and carefully remove it from your mouth. This should only take a few minutes and is generally quite straightforward.
|Surgical extraction. Also known as open extractions, these are significantly more complex than a simple extraction. It is often required when we encounter a tooth that has broken at the gumline or has become impacted. Once we remove the tooth, we will close the surgical site with sutures to promote healing.
After your extraction, we'll send you home with strict aftercare instructions to encourage proper healing and to prevent infection. To help with the bleeding, we'll pack the site with gauze to encourage a blood clot to form. You don't want to dislodge this clot, as it is necessary for healing. If a clot doesn't form, you could develop a condition called "dry socket," which is extremely painful. Notify us immediately if this happens.
Avoid using a drinking straw in the 24 hours following your extraction. Abstain from using alcohol-based mouthwashes and, if you're a smoker, do not smoke after your extraction. This could delay healing. Don't exert yourself after your extraction, either, as that can also impair healing.
We may prescribe pain medication for your recovery, or you can use over-the-counter NSAIDs to help with any discomfort. You can also use warm or cold compresses to help with the swelling. If you notice any of these dangerous signs, call us immediately or go to the emergency room:
|A high fever
|Vomiting and nausea
|Swelling and pain worsening
Extraction is an extremely common procedure and has minimal risks and downtime afterward. It's important to make sure you go to a trusted and skilled dental expert such as the ones you'll find here at Wendy Sanger DMD Cosmetic + Family Dentistry for your extraction. If you are noticing that you have tooth pain or you have any additional questions about dental extractions, do not hesitate to call us here at (908) 647-4441 for more information or to schedule an appointment.