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What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction

Dental anxiety can prevent you from seeking the dental care you need. Extractions are one of the biggest fears associated with dental care in Baltimore. Learning about these procedures can take some of the stress and anxiety out of the process. Here are some of the most important facts about the tooth extraction process for you and your family members.

Why You May Need an Extraction

Your dentist may recommend the removal of one or more of your teeth if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Your tooth has been severely damaged in an accident or by excessive force.
  • Significant tooth decay is present.
  • Gum disease has caused the tooth to become loose.
  • The tooth is pushing on adjacent teeth to cause misalignment and potential damage.

Your dentist will discuss your options and will provide you with the treatment plan best suited to your needs and to the health of your teeth and gums.

What Type of Extraction Do You Need?

Extractions are classified as surgical or simple:

  • Surgical extractions are performed by an oral surgeon and are more complex than simple extractions. These surgeries may be required if the tooth is severely damaged or if the tooth to be removed is pushing on other teeth. Sedation or general anesthesia may be required to keep you comfortable and pain-free during your oral surgery.
  • Simple extractions are usually performed under local anesthetic. Your dentist will use a tool called an elevator as well as forceps and other dental equipment to remove the damaged tooth manually.

Your dentist will let you know which type of extraction will be required to remove your tooth safely and to protect your dental health for the future.

Information Your Dentist Will Need

Before your extraction, your dentist will ask some important questions about your use of medications and your medical history. Some medical conditions and drugs can impact the procedure and your recovery from an extraction:

  • Blood thinners can cause excessive bleeding during or after your procedure.
  • If you have a history of heart problems, your dentist may need to adjust the procedure to account for these issues. Bacterial endocarditis, artificial heart valves and congenital heart defects can affect your dental procedure and the speed of your recovery.
  • Liver disease and thyroid issues should also be reported to your dentist before your extraction.
  • Disorders of the immune system require added precautions for you and your dentist during your extraction.
  • In rare cases, the bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream. If you have artificial joints like a replacement hip or knee, these bacteria can collect in these areas and cause infections. If you have artificial joints, it is important to let your dentist know about this prior to your extraction.

Your dentist will discuss these issues with you and will determine if any of your medical conditions or medications are likely to have an effect on your extraction. You may also be prescribed antibiotics for up to two weeks ahead of your extraction to reduce bacteria in your mouth and to limit the chance of infection.

Choosing the Right Sedation

For many simple extractions, local anesthesia is adequate to manage pain during the procedure. This type of anesthetic is injected into the gums to numb the area of the extraction.

More complex procedures or surgeries may require sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is one of the most common forms of sedation. Intravenous sedation and sedative pills are also available to reduce pain and to help you manage stress and worry about your extraction.

If your procedure will take a considerable amount of time or if you have significant dental anxiety, your dentist may recommend general anesthesia. In this type of sedation, you will not be conscious for the work performed on your teeth. You will also need to recover from general anesthesia for a few hours after your procedure is complete.

Planning for Transportation

If you are planning to be sedated for your tooth extraction, you will need to find an alternative way home. After general anesthesia or sedation, you should not drive yourself home. It is best to allow at least 24 hours to pass before trying to do anything strenuous. This can allow your extraction site to develop a clot that will assist in healing.

Tips for Caring for Extraction Sites

Your dentist will offer some useful guidance on how to care for your teeth and gums after an extraction. Some of the most helpful tips for managing your recovery are listed below:

  • Sleep or nap with your head elevated. This will help to reduce bleeding during the first day or so after your procedure.
  • Do not rinse your mouth with water for about 24 hours after your extraction. This will help the blood to clot and the healing process to begin.
  • Be careful to avoid the area of your extraction when brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Use ice and pain relief medications as recommended by your dentist in Baltimore. Ice packs can be helpful in preventing inflammation and swelling. Prescription and over-the-counter medications will help to keep you comfortable during the healing process.
  • Once 24 hours have passed since your procedure, you can often rinse with a mixture of eight ounces of warm water combined with one-half teaspoon of salt. This can reduce the buildup of bacteria in your mouth during the recovery period after your tooth has been extracted.
  • Watch for severe pain, excessive bleeding or fever and chills after your extraction. These can be signs of infection or other complications that could affect your dental health and the course of your recovery.

Regular visits to your dentist in Baltimore will help you to manage the health of your teeth and gums. This can set the stage for a lifetime of improved dental health and can ensure the brightest possible smiles for you and your family members.

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