Now that we understand what can cause dentists to need to perform oral surgery and tooth extractions, let’s take a look at the procedure involved.
Having a Tooth Removed – What to Expect
Before any decision to proceed with a tooth removal will be made, your dentist will carefully review your medical and dental history, and they will also take a variety of X-rays prior to performing the procedure. These X-rays will help your dentist determine if the extraction can be performed in the office or, in the case of very complicated extractions, if a referral to an oral surgeon is required.
When the dentist is ready to perform the tooth extraction, they first administer a local anesthesia to numb the area of the mouth that contains the affected tooth. Next, they loosen the tooth using a tool called a dental elevator and then finally the tooth removal itself is performed, usually with a pair of dental forceps. After extraction and depending on your circumstances, the dentist may wish to smooth or re-contour the underlying bone as well.
Once the extraction is complete, care immediately shifts to keeping the socket clean and protected in order to prevent any possible infection. Usually the dentist will have the patient bite down on a piece of sterile gauze until enough time has passed for their blood to clot and active bleeding has stopped. The patient must take care not to aggravate the affected area, and should not engage in smoking, rinse their mouth too vigorously or use a brush to clean teeth near the extraction site for a at least 24 hours.
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While a certain amount of pain and discomfort is unavoidable when performing a tooth extraction (as is the case with most types of oral surgery,) in most cases it should be manageable with mild pain medication. Even after 24 hours have passed, you may still want to avoid hot and cold temperatures, and should carefully follow any advice your dentist gives you on keeping the extraction site clean and well-cared for. Within three days to two weeks, the healing process should naturally conclude.