Tooth Extraction Pain - What to Expect
Tooth extraction is a procedure in which dentists remove teeth. Dentists have been performing tooth extractions for centuries; advancements in dental technology have made tooth extractions more effective than ever. These advances have also made tooth extraction more comfortable than ever.
Dentists extract teeth for a variety of reasons. In some cases, dentists may recommend pulling a severely decayed or damaged tooth that will not benefit from other dental treatments. In other cases, dentists may recommend tooth extractions to make more room in the mouth. Dentists also extract wisdom teeth that crowd the rest of the teeth or impacted wisdom teeth that do not fully break through the gum.
Types of Tooth Extractions
There are two main types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical. The type of extraction depends on whether the tooth is visible and in one piece. Both simple and surgical extractions can reduce pain caused by a damaged or diseased tooth.
Dentists perform simple extractions on teeth that are still visible above the gum line and in one piece. As its name suggests, a simple extraction is a relatively simple procedure that involves lifting the tooth from its position in the bone.
They do surgical extractions on teeth that have broken off below the gum line, are broken into several pieces, or have not yet emerged through the gum line. A surgical extraction is a more complicated procedure than a simple extraction, and typically involves the removal of bone, gum tissue, or both. In some cases, your dentist may need to extract the tooth in pieces.
What to Expect From Tooth Extraction
The tooth extraction process begins with a thorough dental exam to determine if tooth extraction is appropriate. During the exam, the dentist will gather the patient’s medical history and medication list. Some patients, such as those taking blood thinners, may need to stop taking certain medications prior to tooth extraction. The dentist will also discuss pain relief measures during the procedure and the recovery phase.
Dentists perform tooth extractions on an outpatient basis, which means they do not require an overnight stay in the hospital. The procedure is very safe and, thanks to advances in dental care and pain control, much more comfortable than ever before. Depending on the type of tooth extraction, your dentist will administer local or general anesthesia to prevent discomfort during the procedure. Local anesthetic involves numbing the gum near the extraction site, while general anesthesia makes you feel drowsy and sedated during the procedure.
To perform a simple extraction, the dentist uses a tool known as an elevator to lift the tooth from its location before removing it with a pair of dental forceps. A surgical extraction requires opening the gum to expose the tooth root and jaw bone prior to removing the tooth. In some cases, the dentist may use stitches to close the gum. During both procedures, dentists use advanced techniques, tools and medicines to optimize results and minimize pain.
Following extraction of the tooth, the dentist will place gauze into the tooth socket. This gauze limits bleeding as a blood clot forms. Keeping the clot intact throughout the healing process prevents dry socket, which is a painful complication of tooth extraction. Change gauze pads regularly to keep the area clean.
Recovery takes a few days, during which you can expect to experience some measure of discomfort or pain. Fortunately, you can take measures to minimize tooth extraction pain and reduce recovery time. These measures include:
- Using ice to reduce swelling
- Taking painkillers as recommended or prescribed by your dentist
- Limiting your activity
- Avoiding the use of straws
- Not smoking
- Eating soft foods
- Brushing and flossing your teeth, but avoiding the extraction site
When to Call the Dentist after Tooth Extraction
Recovery from tooth extraction should take only a few days. It is normal to feel some pain for the first 24 hours after the procedure, but the pain should be controllable. Contact your dentist if the tooth extraction pain is severe, if taking analgesics as recommended or prescribed do not control your pain, or if your pain persists longer than a day.
Swelling and some bleeding are normal after tooth extraction. Call your dentist if your bleeding and swelling are severe, or if they persist.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.