No one ever wants to hear that they need to have a tooth pulled. It just doesn’t sound like a nice thing to have done—a tooth pulled. It is not usually an issue of cosmetic dentistry either, but is prescribed because the health of your teeth may be at risk. A tooth extraction may be ordered as a course of treatment for any of the following reasons:
- Tooth is too badly decayed to be saved
- Potential damage to the adjacent teeth
- Gum disease
- “Baby” tooth does not come loose on its own
NOTE: If you are experiencing any of these problems, your Charleston dentist wants to know right away, so that we can schedule a dentist appointment to help you determine your best options.
Before you have a tooth (or teeth) pulled, there are some things you ought to know that can help you prepare and heal well.
4 things to expect when having a tooth pulled:
- PREPARATION – Your dentist will help to prepare you for the tooth extraction by:
- Taking x-rays of the affected tooth or teeth.
- Possibly prescribing some antibiotics prior to the extraction, if you are at-risk for certain illnesses or have certain medical conditions.
- Going over all of the dos and don’ts related to the procedure.
- ANESTHESIA – During the procedure your mouth will be numbed from anesthesia, so you won’t feel anything.
- Tooth extraction is a form of surgery, so there is some cutting involved. However, anesthesia provides a pain-free experience. The anesthesia may be local, intravenous, or inhaled.
- Stitches (usually self-dissolving) and gauze will be used to close up the wound.
- AFTER THE PROCEDURE – As the anesthesia or sedation wear off, and your healing begins, it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions after having a tooth pulled, especially regarding bleeding, pain management, swelling and bruising, activity, food and beverages, cleaning your mouth, smoking, and stitches. If sedation is involved, you will need to bring someone with you who can drive you home, but it is always a good idea to have someone there who can help you follow the post-extraction instructions. One of the most important pieces of advice is to go home and rest after having a tooth pulled.
- PROBLEMS – If problems occur after the extraction, you will need to call your dentist or oral surgeon right away. Here are things to watch out for:
- Problems breathing or swallowing
- Excessive bleeding
- Pain that is not relieved by pain medications
- Swelling that gets worse 2-3 days after surgery
- Bad taste that doesn’t go away when rinsing with saltwater
- Pus in the socket or oozing
- Numbness that does not go away
- Blood or pus from your nasal passages
The best thing you can do when preparing to have a tooth (or teeth) pulled is to write down your questions, and ask your dentist. We would rather you ask us lots of questions than forget what you wanted to ask us, and then regret it later.
We would love to help you avoid a tooth extraction. Possibly the best way to avoid one is to stop by and see us for a check-up—your friendly Charleston dentist. We have a lot of helpful information and dental advice to help you avoid having to have a tooth pulled.
Image credit: Elkan, O., artist. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons