What To Expect When Getting A Tooth Extracted

If you're about to have a tooth extracted—or you're just curious about the process—you probably have a few questions about how it works. The first and most important thing to realize is that it's a relatively safe process with a low risk of complications. To learn more details about the entire process, consider the following information.

Reasons to Need a Tooth Extraction

There are many reasons for a person to have one or more of their teeth extracted. Perhaps the most common cause is removing wisdom teeth, which often become impacted or lead to other problems. For many patients, dentists decide it's best to remove them before they create more serious issues.  

Another common cause of tooth extractions is decay, infection, or damage to a tooth. Depending on how bad the tooth is, removing it might be a better option than repairing it. The tooth's location will also affect whether the dentist repairs or extracts it—it might make more sense to repair a tooth in the front of your mouth.

Crowding is another reason that people have teeth extracted. When you have crowded teeth, it's more difficult to clean between them and prevent cavities and other problems. Therefore, a dentist might remove one or more of them to make space or prepare you for getting braces.

Preparations for the Procedure

Before extracting a tooth, your dentist will examine your mouth and use x-rays images to determine the best process to use. A decaying, impacted, or severely damaged tooth may require special treatment during the procedure. It's always best for the dentist to know what they're dealing with before performing the extraction.

The dentist will also go over your medical history and ask you about any medications you're currently taking. They want to ensure that you will be safe during the procedure and avoid causing any adverse side effects. If you're taking certain medications or have a particular medical condition, you might be more likely to get an infection or have issues during the recovery process.

The Procedure

The details of the procedure will vary depending on your specific circumstances. The number of teeth they're extracting, and the procedure's complexity will determine the best process. A dentist might simply remove the tooth using local anesthetics, or you may need to go to an oral surgeon who will use either general or intravenous anesthesia.

The Recovery Process

After the procedure, you will need to take proper care of the extraction site, so it heals properly. The dentist will put gauze over the hole, and you should keep it there for a few hours to allow a blood clot to form. They will likely instruct you to take pain medication, as your mouth will be sore for a few days—and they'll prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection. 

Over the next few days, it's essential that you allow the blood clot to heal in the tooth hole and that it doesn't come out. That means avoiding smoking and drinking with a straw. If the clot comes out, it can cause dry socket, which is quite painful, and your dentist will need to fix it.