April 7, 2019
Are you preparing to have a wisdom tooth extraction and are unsure of what to expect? It’s normal to be a bit concerned when faced with this type of procedure, but thankfully, your dentist is highly skilled at tooth removal and will make sure you are comfortable and at ease prior to your procedure. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be knowledgeable and prepared though. To help you navigate this process, let us tell you what happens during a tooth extraction, how to prepare and what to expect after it is completed.
How Do I Prepare for a Tooth Extraction?
There may be several reasons why you must have a tooth extracted. These can include:
- Wisdom teeth removal
- Teeth blocking others from coming in
- Creating room for teeth to shift into place (if you’re getting braces)
- Infected teeth
To prepare for the procedure, your dentist or oral surgeon will need to take X-rays of your mouth to create the best treatment plan. This will help him determine the best method for removing the tooth. It’s important that you tell your dentist about any medicines you’re taking, as well as prior medical or dental procedures you’ve had.
Depending on your needs, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics that you’ll take before and after surgery. You can also expect to be sedated and will feel completely comfortable during the procedure. There are a few important things to remember though:
- If your dentist suggests IV sedation, you shouldn’t eat or drink anything for 6-8 hours before surgery.
- If you have a cold up to a week before surgery, your dentist may wait to do the procedure until you are over your cold.
- Smoking the day of the procedure can increase the likeliness for a dry socket, which is incredibly painful.
What Happens During the Procedure?
While it depends on the type of extraction you’ll be having, there are two types: a simple extraction and a surgical extraction.
When your dentist can see the tooth in your mouth, it can be easily loosened with what is called an elevator. Once he has the tooth loosened enough, he will use forceps to remove it from the socket.
Considered a much more complex procedure, your oral surgeon will make a small incision in your gum. Whether the tooth is broken or has yet to push through the gum line, he may need to remove some of the nearby bone around the tooth in order to cut it in half to completely remove it.
What Can I Expect Afterward?
Once your procedure is complete, your dentist will provide detailed instructions as to how you should care for your wound at home. There are some things to remember:
- You should expect to feel some discomfort. Tooth extraction is a surgery so there will be some soreness afterward.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce the amount of pain (Advil, Motrin). Make sure to take the recommended dosage provided by your dentist.
- Surgical extractions will produce more pain afterward than simple extractions, so follow the instructions of your dentist regarding your prescribed pain medications. If the pain persists beyond a few days, call your dentist immediately.
- Use an ice pack to reduce the swelling.
- Eat soft and cold foods for a few days.
- Rinse with warm saltwater beginning 24 hours after surgery, as it will help clean the area. It can help dissolve stitches, too.
- Do not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These can cause the blood clot to dislodge.
Your dentist will do everything possible to try and save your natural tooth; however, if a tooth extraction is inevitable, it’s not the end of the world. There are solutions that can restore your smile and give you back your confidence. Talk to your dentist about ways you can get your smile back once you’ve healed from your procedure.
About the Author
Dr. Manpreet Dhaliwal, DDS, completed part of his undergraduate studies at Green River Community College before graduating with a degree in biochemistry from the University of Washington. Following his undergraduate studies, he attended the University of Michigan, and in 2011, earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Detroit Mercy. Offering patients personalized care, Dr. Dhaliwal and his team will take the time to learn about your unique dental needs and provide the highest quality dental treatment. To find out how we can help you, visit our website or call (425) 413-8505.
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