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What to Expect With a Tooth Extraction

The uncertainty of the dentist’s office can instill fear into the strongest of people. Noisy drills, very sharp tools, and someone asking you questions while they have both hands in your mouth can seem daunting indeed. However, knowing what will happen and why can alleviate the terror of the dentist’s chair – called odontophobia – and enable you to have better oral health.

Tooth extractions are very common and very dreaded because of all the above reasons. Although most children don’t view them this way, most adults do. Keep reading to learn more about finding a Northern New Jersey dentist, understanding the costs and the procedures involved, and the best steps to recovery.

If you have a broken, damaged, or loose tooth, you’ll probably need a professional tooth extraction. The definition of a tooth extraction is removing the tooth from its socket in the jawbone. Extractions are recommended for many reasons, but the procedure is the same. Knowing the steps of the procedure and the reasons for them can help you face the ordeal with considerably less trepidation.

The first step will be an x-ray so that your dentist knows exactly how to remove the tooth and can be aware of any complications that may arise. Your dentist will discuss your medical history with you and then recommend the best type of sedative for your unique needs. You’ll need to openly communicate with your dentist about your allergies, medical conditions, and so forth, as well as the current state of your health. If you have a cold or the flu, congestion, nausea, or vomiting during the week before your surgery, it can delay the procedure. However, you need to notify your dentist if any of these occur so that your dental procedure has the best outcome.

Before Your Tooth Extraction Procedure

Apprise your dentist of any prescriptions and medications – including over-the-counter supplements – and any medical conditions that you have or have had in the past, including:

  • Bacterial endocarditis
  • Congenital heart defect
  • Artificial knee or hip joints
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Damaged heart valves or artificial heart valves
  • Impaired immunity

Types of Tooth Extractions

There are only two types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical. A simple extraction removes a visible tooth. It’s carefully loosened and then extracted. A surgical extraction is usually used for teeth that haven’t fully erupted, so there’s an incision in the gum that will be closed with a few self-dissolving sutures.

You’ll receive a local anesthetic for both the simple and the surgical procedures, but you may receive intravenous anesthesia depending on the complexity of your procedure. You may feel some pressure during the process, but you should feel no pain or pinching. If you do, be sure to notify your dentist immediately.

After Your Extraction Procedure

After your procedure, your dentist will request that you bite down on the gauze they placed on the extraction site. This helps to stop the bleeding, and you’ll need to continue applying pressure for about three hours. After you’re home, you should continue to follow these guidelines:

  • Replace the gauze as necessary, but continue biting down until the site stops bleeding.Rest for 24 hours and avoid strenuous activity.
  • Apply an ice pack to the outside of the jaw at 10-minute intervals but don’t apply ice directly on the site.
  • Use painkillers as needed and as directed by your dentist.
  • Continue to brush and floss as usual, but avoid the extraction site.
  • Eat soft foods only, such as applesauce, soups, yogurt, and ice cream.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw, smoking, spitting forcibly, and rinsing for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, rinse with warm saltwater, using ½ teaspoon salt to eight ounces of warm water.
  • Avoid lying flat for a couple of days. Sleep with several pillows to elevate your head, and then sleep lying on your side for the next few days.

Some degree of swelling, bleeding, and pain are normal following a tooth extraction, but extreme amounts of any of them are not. Notify your Northern New Jersey dentist without delay if you experience any of the following:

  • Chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath
  • Chills, fever, or signs of an infection
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bleeding, severe pain, or swelling after four hours
  • Excessive discharge, inflammation, or swelling from the site

If you have severe swelling or pain, uncontrolled bleeding, chills, fever, redness, or trouble swallowing, be sure to contact your Northern New Jersey dentist without delay. Maintain a soft-food diet so that you don’t reopen your clot and get food particles in your site. Your extraction site will usually be healed within one to two weeks, and then you can resume your normal lifestyle.

Wisdom Tooth Extractions

Wisdom teeth are the last molars to erupt, and they’re behind all your other molars. There are wisdom teeth on both the upper and lower jaws. It’s become common practice to remove wisdom teeth as a precautionary measure, but not all dentists agree with this practice. Although sometimes wisdom teeth can cause problems, there are both benefits and risks to consider before removing them.

If your wisdom teeth have emerged straight and they’re not crowding your other teeth, then there’s probably no harm in leaving them. However, many people have insufficient room in their jaw to accommodate their wisdom teeth, so the other teeth become misaligned and the wisdom teeth erupt crooked. In these types of situations, wisdom teeth removal may be the prudent course of action and prevent problems in the future.

If your dentist recommends wisdom tooth removal and you’re not happy with the suggestion, then consult another dentist for a second opinion. You want the best solution for your long-term needs and that may or may not agree with a specific dentist’s recommendation.

The American Dental Association recommends wisdom teeth removal for the following reasons:

  • Damage to adjacent teeth
  • Onset of gum disease
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Infection
  • Tooth decay
  • Tumor or cyst

Although your wisdom teeth may not be uncomfortable at the moment, they may develop problems. For this reason, many dentists recommend their removal as a regular preventive measure. The most common reasons for preventive tooth extraction include:

  • Limiting the potential for disease to develop
  • Removing them before they become problematic
  • Removing them at a younger age to avoid complications that can occur in older adults

Some dentists prefer to leave wisdom teeth alone unless there’s a reason for extracting them. Some dentists believe that the expense and risks don’t justify removing them without a reason. If you need wisdom teeth extracted or want an opinion on the matter, then consult with a Northern New Jersey dentist so you can make the best decision for your unique needs.

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