The thought of having a tooth removed can seem daunting and frightening. But did you know that tooth extraction is a rather common dental procedure? This post will go over tooth extraction and what you should know.
- 1 What Is Tooth Extraction?
- 2 When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?
- 3 The Benefits of Necessary Tooth Extraction
- 4 What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction?
- 5 Possible Complications After Tooth Extraction
- 6 The Cost of Tooth Extraction
- 7 Factors Affecting the Cost of Tooth Extraction
- 8 How Can You Avoid Tooth Extraction?
- 9 Do's and Don'ts After a Tooth Extraction
- 10 FAQ's About Tooth Extractions
- 10.1 How can you prepare for a tooth extraction?
- 10.2 Does tooth extraction hurt?
- 10.3 What is a dry socket?
- 10.4 How to prevent a dry socket after extraction?
- 10.5 How long does healing take after tooth extraction?
- 10.6 Home remedies to avoid swelling and other complications after tooth extraction
- 10.7 When should you see your dentist after a tooth extraction?
What Is Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. It is a generally quick outpatient treatment that can be performed under local, general, intravenous, or combination anesthetics.
Tooth removal is performed by dentists and oral surgeons for a variety of reasons. The problem could be a painful wisdom tooth or a tooth that has been severely decayed. In other cases, a dentist may extract an impacted tooth to relieve pain.
There are different types of tooth extraction. The type of tooth extraction required is determined by the tooth’s shape, size, position, and location in the mouth.
Extractions can be classified as simple or surgical by dental surgeons.
Simple extractions involve a tooth that can be seen above the gum line and is easy for a dentist to remove in one piece.
A surgical extraction is more involved, requiring the removal of gum tissue, bone, or both. The surgeon may have to extract the tooth in parts.
When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?
In some cases, a dental filling, crown, or other dental treatment can be used to repair teeth that have been cracked, damaged by decay or impacted. However, if the damage is too severe to restore, your dentist may advise extraction.
The Benefits of Necessary Tooth Extraction
The advantages of having your tooth removed outweigh the nerve-racking thought of them being extracted. If your dentist suggests tooth extraction, that means it is a suitable treatment for the condition of your tooth or oral health. Here is the list of possible benefits of tooth extraction:
It Relieves Your Pain.
Patients often complain of dental pain when they see the dentist. Common causes include stuck debris and dental decay, which are simple oral problems that can be treated. But there are other underlying causes for such distress. Most likely, you have an infection that has spread to the tooth roots or a wisdom tooth that has emerged. Untreated, it causes more discomfort. If the dental issue is severe, removing the tooth is the only option.
It Solves Your Dental Problem.
An infection in the tooth can spread quickly, making treatment more difficult. When this occurs, the issue becomes more complicated and needs additional dental treatments. Not only that, but postponing treatment will increase your pain and discomfort. The damage to the tooth is already severe and irreversible at this point. Simply put, the only solution is to extract the tooth.
Saving your remaining teeth
One significant risk that dentists attempt to minimise is allowing a cavity or infection to spread to neighbouring teeth. Unfortunately, some patients are only aware of this until it is too late. The infection has already infected the remaining teeth. This will necessitate additional treatments and more complex dental procedures. If the treatment is not provided at the appropriate time, you may lose more than one or two teeth. That is why tooth removal is necessary to prevent infection from spreading to neighbouring teeth and possibly the surrounding tissues and bones.
Achieve a healthier and new, beautiful smile.
Dentists may recommend removing a tooth even though there is no problem with it. Overcrowding causes crooked teeth in some people, as it does in orthodontics. It indicates that there are more teeth than the patient’s mouth can accommodate or that the teeth are all too big to fit in the mouth. Typically, the solution is to extract a tooth, such as a molar extraction, so that the other teeth can adjust to their normal positions. This eventually leads to a more attractive smile.
What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction?
Before pulling the tooth, your dentist will provide a local anaesthetic injection to numb the area where the tooth will be extracted. Your dentist may use strong general anesthesia in some more complex cases. This will prevent you from feeling pain during the procedure and put you to sleep during the operation.
There are two types of extractions:
- Simple extractions involve removing teeth that are visible in your mouth. General dentists commonly perform simple extractions. During the procedure, your dentist will numb the tooth and gum tissue before loosening the tooth with an elevator and extracting it with dental forceps.
- A surgical extraction is a more invasive procedure that is performed for a tooth that has broken off at the gum line or has not yet emerged in the mouth. Oral surgeons often perform surgical extractions, but general dentists can also perform them. The surgeon will cut a small incision into your gum and extract the underlying tooth during a surgical extraction.
A patient should not experience pain, but they may feel pressure against the tooth. They may also hear bone or tooth grinding and cracking. Some individuals find the experience distressing.
If a person experiences pain, they should inform the dentist or oral surgeon right away.
When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot typically forms in the socket. The dentist will insert a gauze pad into the socket and advise you to bite down on it to stop the bleeding. To close the gum lines over the extraction site, the dentist may place a few stitches, which usually are self-dissolving.
Possible Complications After Tooth Extraction
There are some risks to having a tooth extracted. However, if your dentist recommends the procedure, the benefits will most likely outweigh the risks.
After tooth extraction, a blood clot forms in the socket — the hole in the bone where the tooth was pulled. Yet, if the blood clot does not form or dislodges, the bone inside the socket may become exposed or known as a “dry socket.” If this occurs, the dentist will cover the affected area with a sedative dressing for a few days to protect it. A new clot will form during this period.
A dry socket can result in excruciating, throbbing pain that usually begins a few days after the treatment. It can also result in bad breath. If you are in severe pain 2–3 days after surgery, contact your dentist.
Another concern is an infection, which can develop when bacteria infect the gumline in and around the socket after 1–2 days of surgery.
It would help if you observed any signs of the following risks:
The Cost of Tooth Extraction
Patients pay less for dental insurance-covered tooth extractions. The majority of medically required extractions will be covered. The cost is determined by your insurance plan and the cost of the extraction.
Several factors identify the cost of tooth extraction. According to the Australian Dental Association, the average cost of simple extraction in Victoria, Australia, may range from $187.69 to $300. Surgical removal, such as wisdom tooth removal, can cost between \$284.67 to \$2,300.
You can arrange a payment plan if you don’t have insurance coverage, but you’ll need to pay the whole amount out of pocket. It is always necessary to administer a local anaesthetic (numbing medication) during the extraction. The procedure may also require general anesthesia. Separate charges apply for this medication.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Tooth Extraction
The total cost of a tooth extraction varies and is determined by several factors. It may be beneficial to inquire at the clinic beforehand for you to prepare.
Additionally, the extraction fee does not include the expense of any initial examinations or X-rays required to determine whether the tooth needs to be extracted. In Victoria, Australia, the average cost of an oral examination is $50.54, while the x-ray per film is $45.01.
It is essential to schedule an appointment with a dentist or oral surgeon ahead of time to discuss the costs of the treatment.
How Can You Avoid Tooth Extraction?
You can avoid having your teeth removed by practising proper oral hygiene habits and regular visits to your dentist. Such a routine will help you maintain a healthy mouth and save your teeth from cavities, decay, or damage.
Visit Your Dentist
Regular dental appointments allow your dentist to monitor the health of your teeth and gums as well as treat any tooth problems before they worsen or progress. During dental visits, professional cleaning is also included to remove hard plaque that causes tooth decay and gum disease.
Proper Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good dental hygiene is one of the most effective and simple ways to avoid tooth extractions and other dental problems. Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day can greatly reduce your risk of developing diseases and infections.
A healthy diet is also important for infection prevention because it provides your body with the nutrients it requires to fight infection. A poor diet high in sweets or carbohydrates can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
Save Your Teeth
Broken or damaged teeth are not only unpleasant, but they can also cause nerve death or the formation of an abscess, which may require extraction if the infection or damage has progressed beyond effective endodontic repair. As soon as you notice or suffer a broken tooth or noticeable fracture lines, you must seek treatment from a specialist.
Do's and Don'ts After a Tooth Extraction
The following do’s after tooth extraction can help speed your recovery and avoid risks:
Allow your mouth to rest
For the next two hours, avoid unnecessary talking, eating, and drinking. Also, avoid any strenuous activity that may damage the extraction site and dislodge the blood clot.
Opt for Soft Foods
After the bleeding has stopped, drink plenty of warm or cold drinks. Before returning to your regular diet, it is usually advised to consume liquids and soft foods. Your dentist will recommend the best diet for your recovery.
Take Pain Medication
Take any prescription pain medications according to your dentist’s instructions. These medications can help you recover without causing pain, but they do have some risks. Before taking prescription pain medication, discuss the risks and benefits with your dentist.
Take Care of The Extraction Site
Bite down gently after the dentist has placed the gauze pad over the surgical area to minimise bleeding and aid in clot formation. Allow the gauze to stay on for three to four hours or until the pad is soaked in blood.
After twelve to twenty-four hours, you can continue your oral hygiene routine together with gently rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. But avoid brushing and flossing the extraction site.
The following don’ts may damage your wound and can slow your healing process:
- Avoid drinking with a straw.
- Do not spit, as the pressure may dislodge your blood clot.
- It may seem impossible, but smoking is known to slow down the healing period of the surgical site. Discuss your alternatives or tips with your dentist about how to stop smoking.
- Don’t rinse for twenty hours following the tooth extraction, and spit only gently.
FAQ's About Tooth Extractions
How can you prepare for a tooth extraction?
Remember that, like with any medical procedure, the healthier you are, the higher your chances of complete recovery with as few problems as possible. Eating well and exercising regularly are the best ways to prepare your body to heal from any treatment or trauma and fight off potential infections.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter medications and supplements that can have adverse effects, such as thinning your blood. If you are on prescription blood thinners, consult your doctor.
- Before your dentist begins the extraction, request that they walk you through the procedure step by step. This way, you’ll be able to see what happens. Once the procedure begins, don’t be scared to ask questions or share your concerns.
- To maintain normal blood sugar levels, eat a normal meal in your routine. If you choose laughing gas (nitrous oxide), you should not eat anything for at least two hours before the surgery. You don’t want to be stuffed during the surgery, but you won’t be able to eat anything for several hours afterwards. Thus, it is advised to eat enough to avoid headaches or nausea from hunger. Most dentists recommend patients wait five hours before consuming soft foods.
- The dentist will review your medical and dental history thoroughly. Yet, it would be best to inform your dentist or the staff about your health conditions prior to the surgical procedure to avoid complications.
- If you have a cold, tell the dentist right away. It is best to reschedule the surgery if this happens.
- Inform your dentist if you experienced nausea or vomiting the night before, since this may necessitate a different anaesthetic or rescheduling.
- If you’re receiving general anesthesia, make sure you have someone to take you home.
- It is best to avoid smoking before the surgery. Smoking may hinder the blood clot from forming properly.
Does tooth extraction hurt?
Having a tooth out can be painful. However, your dentist will usually provide a local anaesthetic to you throughout the treatment to alleviate any discomfort.
In addition, dentists often provide over-the-counter or prescription pain medication to help you manage the pain after the treatment.
Your dentist or oral surgeon may use one or more kinds of anaesthetic, depending on your level of comfort and the expected difficulty of your extraction.
- Local anaesthesia
- Sedation anaesthesia
- General anaesthesia
After tooth extraction, minor discomfort or pain is normal. The oral surgeon or dentist will give you instructions on how to take care of the wound.
What is a dry socket?
A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is a painful dental condition that can occur after having a permanent adult tooth pulled. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot at the tooth extraction site fails to form or when it dislodges or dissolves before the incision has healed.
A blood clot usually occurs in the area of tooth extraction. This blood clot serves as protection for the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty socket. The clot also serves as a foundation for the formation of new bone and soft tissue over the clot.
Infection or severe problems are uncommon when a painful, dry socket occurs. Potential concerns include delayed healing or infection in the socket and progression to chronic bone infection, also known as osteomyelitis.
How to prevent a dry socket after extraction?
The most prevalent complication following tooth extractions, like the removal of third molars (wisdom teeth), is a dry socket. Dry sockets can bring severe pain and cannot be treated with over-the-counter medications alone. Your dentist or oral surgeon can provide pain relief treatments.
These are the following preventions for minimising the risk of dry socket:
- Look for a dentist or oral surgeon who has performed tooth extractions before.
- If possible, attempt to quit smoking before your extraction, since smoking and other tobacco products increase your chances of developing a dry socket. Consider speaking with your doctor or dentist about a programme that helps you quit smoking for good.
- Discuss any prescription or over-the-counter medications or vitamins you’re taking with your dentist or oral surgeon, as they may interfere with blood clotting.
How long does healing take after tooth extraction?
Even if there are no complications, the extraction site can take up to two weeks to heal. You should stick to soft meals and prevent biting and chewing on the extraction site during this time.
You can resume brushing and flossing as usual, but avoid brushing or flossing in the area of the extracted tooth until it has completely healed. Instead, gently rinse with warm salt water to lower your risk of infection once you’ve determined that a blood clot has developed.
New bone and the gum tissue will form to fill the gap. However, missing a tooth (or teeth) might cause the remaining teeth to move, changing your bite and making it difficult to chew. As a result, your dentist may recommend replacing the missing tooth or teeth with an implant, denture, or fixed bridge.
Home remedies to avoid swelling and other complications after tooth extraction
At-home remedies will help you aid swelling and complications following tooth extraction. Maintaining the blood clot that grows in the socket where your tooth was removed is one of the most critical parts of aftercare.
- Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. Your dentist will prescribe you pain medication, but they will still advise rinsing your mouth with saltwater. It has components that can help to eliminate and prevent infections. Do this gently and only once the blood clot is secure in place.
- Cold and heat. To minimise swelling, apply cold packs to your face for fifteen minutes at a time for the first twenty-four hours after tooth extraction. After that, you can control pain using heat therapy in the form of warm washcloths.
- Clove oil. Eugenol, found in clove oil, has anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It has the ability to relieve pain and prevent infections from forming or progressing. As a result, clove oil is occasionally used in professional dry socket pastes. Clove oil can have adverse side effects, so talk to your dentist or oral surgeon before taking it as a home treatment.
- Black tea bags. Tannic acid, found in black tea, works as a natural antibacterial agent while relieving swelling and pain. To use this treatment, soak a tea bag for five minutes in a cup of hot water. After it has cooled, remove it and squeeze off the excess water. To be effective, the teabag should be chilled. It can work as a cold compress if you put it in the refrigerator rather than the freezer. To keep the teabag in place for around 15 minutes, gently bite down on it.
When should you see your dentist after a tooth extraction?
It is normal to experience some discomfort once the anaesthetic wears off. You should also expect some swelling and residual bleeding for the first twenty-four hours after having a tooth extracted. However, if the bleeding or pain persists more than four hours after your tooth has been removed, you should contact your dentist. You should also contact your dentist if you have any of the following symptoms:
- High fever and chills are often a sign of infection.
- Severe nausea or vomiting
- Pus, redness, and excessive swelling on the extraction site.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain