Do you need to have one or more teeth extracted? It can be helpful to understand what you can expect during and after the procedure. Here, our Pembroke and Deep River dentists explain what will happen during the tooth extraction process.
Before Your Extraction
You'll likely have to go in for an initial consultation and preparation before your tooth extraction is performed.
Your dentist will take an X-ray of the site to help strategize how best to extract the tooth or teeth. If your dentist is extracting your wisdom teeth, they may take a panoramic X-ray of your teeth to capture an image of all of your teeth and surrounding tissues at once.
The extraction appointment, including pre-and post-procedure instructions and recommendations, will be planned out for you. This may include antibiotics, sedation or anesthesia if required. The dentist can also answer any questions you may have about the procedure at this time, and your extraction appointment will be scheduled.
If you have certain medical conditions, a weakened immune system or an infection, or the procedure will take especially long, you might be prescribed antibiotics to take before and after surgery.
Intravenous (IV) anesthesia can come in the form of general anesthesia, conscious sedation, or another type of sedation. The dentist will provide instructions to follow if this is the case, and they will likely include the following:
- Wear short sleeves or sleeves that you can easily roll up on the day of the appointment.
- Don't eat or drink anything for 6 to 8 hours before the procedure.
- Have you had a cold up to a week before surgery? Call your dentist so they can determine whether the procedure should be delayed. If you had nausea and vomiting the night before the procedure, call the doctor's office first thing in the morning. The extraction appointment may need to be rescheduled until you feel better.
- Don't smoke on the day of your surgery. as this may increase your risk of developing a painful oral issue called dry socket.
During the Procedure
Your extraction will likely be performed in one of the following two ways:
A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that is fully erupted and visible over the gum line. During a simple extraction, the dentist will likely loosen the tooth with an instrument called an elevator, and then use forceps to remove it.
Most simple extractions can be done using just a local anesthetic, although there are drugs available to help anxious patients relax during the procedure.
A surgical extraction is somewhat more complex and is used in cases where a tooth has broken off at the gum line or has not erupted through the gum line. During this procedure, your dentist will likely make a small incision into your gum to extract the tooth.
For a surgical extraction, you will receive a local anesthetic, and you might also have intravenous anesthesia. Some people might need general anesthesia, including those with specific medical or behavioural conditions, and young children.
After The Procedure
- After your procedure, be sure to rest for the remainder of the day. Keep your head elevated using an extra pillow.
- Avoid hot food or drinks until the anesthetic wears off so that you don't accidentally burn your mouth. Also, chew carefully to avoid biting your cheek or tongue.
- To prevent dislodging the blood clot, do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours, or eat on that side of your mouth. Avoid the temptation to prod the area with your tongue as well.
- Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours, as it can encourage bleeding and delay healing.
- You can brush your teeth, but be careful to avoid the extraction site.
- There might be some slight bleeding for the first day or so. You can place a cotton ball in the area for about 15 minutes to quell the bleeding. If the bleeding continues for more than two hours, contact your dentist.
- The extraction site might be sore or tender for a few days following the procedure. If you feel pain, take an over-the-counter pain killer and/or apply ice to the cheek over the extraction site.
Your dentist might request that you attend a follow-up appointment. During this appointment, the dentist will remove any stitches that might have been needed, and check that the area is healing well.