The basics of a tooth extraction

While tooth extractions are a common procedure, they can cause patients to worry due to the pain involved. Tooth extraction is a necessary procedure for a variety of reasons such as to remove a broken, decayed or infected tooth.

Tooth extraction process

Before the tooth extraction process, a patient is injected with an anesthetic to numb the area. The anesthetic prevents pain and helps the patient sleep through the extraction. In some instances, the dentist may have to remove a tooth in pieces. This is referred to as a surgical extraction done by oral surgeons. If a tooth is hard to pull, the dentist cuts away the gum and bone tissue surrounding the tooth and uses forceps to loosen the tooth from the jaw.  A simple extraction involves loosening the tooth using an elevator then removed using forceps.

It is natural for a blood clot to form where the tooth is removed. The dentist uses a gauze pad to stop the bleeding and at times may stitch the gum. At times, a blood clot may break loose exposing the bone, a condition referred to as the dry socket. In this instance, a sedative is applied on the socket to protect the socket as a new clot develops.

Information to provide to your dentist

Tooth extraction is relatively safe, but at times harmful bacteria may enter the bloodstream through the empty socket. There is also the risk of infection of the gum. Individuals with conditions that may pose a risk for severe infection may need to take antibiotics. Before a tooth extraction, you should let your dentist know your medical history including any medication you are on, especially if you have a condition such as liver cirrhosis or a heart defect.

What to do after a tooth extraction

It is normal to experience discomfort after a tooth extraction. Your dentist usually prescribes some painkillers to be taken as prescribed. Surgical extractions are usually more painful than simple extractions. A cut inside the mouth takes longer to heal due to saliva. The dentist places a gauze pad to put pressure on the socket. Avoid disturbing the clot that forms on the wound. You can use an ice pack to reduce swelling or a warm compress. Avoid solid foods in the first few hours of extraction and do not smoke. You can speed up the healing process by using a saline solution to rinse your mouth.