Demystifying Tooth Extraction: What You Need to Know

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Demystifying Tooth Extraction: What You Need to Know

Excessive tooth decay, tooth infection, and overcrowding–oh my! These are some reasons why your dentist would recommend a tooth extraction. 

At Asheville Dental, we want to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible. However, there are certain circumstances when a tooth extraction is necessary. 

While a tooth extraction may seem intimidating, it is a relatively standard procedure. 

What is a Tooth Extraction? 

Sometimes known as “pulling” a tooth, a tooth extraction is a dental procedure during which your tooth is completely removed from the socket. While this may seem intimidating, it is a relatively standard procedure. 

While your dentist can restore damaged or broken teeth with a filling or crown, there are cases when the tooth is irreparable, and an extraction is required. Reasons your dentist would recommend a tooth extraction include: 

  • Severe trauma or injury
  • Decay or infection has reached deep into the tooth 
  • There isn’t enough room for all the teeth in your mouth 
  • Your baby teeth don’t fall out in time for the permanent teeth to come in 
  • To create room for the teeth as they move into place during orthodontic treatments
  • Wisdom teeth, also called “third molars,” are often extracted either before or after they come in 

While no one looks forward to having teeth pulled, our team has the experience and training to perform these procedures with minimal discomfort. 

Preparing for a Tooth Extraction 

Before removing a tooth, your dentist will thoroughly evaluate your medical and dental history and take appropriate X-rays to reveal the shape, length, and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. There are two types of extractions when a tooth needs to be removed.

  1. Simple extractions discard the teeth visible within the mouth. This procedure is done in your dentist’s office and you are typically free to leave once the extraction is complete. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area and reduce the pain experienced by the patient. 
  2. Surgical extractions are a more complex procedure for teeth that may have broken off at the gum line or have not yet come into the mouth. We sometimes do surgical extractions under sedation, but often also use local anesthetic. An oral surgeon can perform this procedure as well. 

A majority of these procedures are completed with a simple extraction. However, both options help minimize the risk of further complications, such as infection, pain, and inflammation.

After a tooth removal, proper aftercare is vital. Most simple extractions should heal between 7 to 10 days.

What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction  

Fortunately, there is minimal downtime after a tooth extraction. But, like any surgery, there will be a certain amount of pain and discomfort. The most important thing is keeping your mouth clean and preventing infection. Here are a few aftercare tips for the first two days: 

  • Take over-the-counter painkillers. Combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen is the best way to manage dental pain.   
  • Apply ice. Placing a cold compress immediately after the procedure will lessen swelling.
  • Get plenty of rest. Limit activity for at least 24 hours after surgery. 
  • Avoid rinsing. While it may be tempting, do not rinse, swish, or gargle in the mouth while the area is still clotting. These actions affect the healing time. 
  • Do not spit. This creates unnecessary pressure in the mouth, which could dislodge the blood clot.
  • Abstain from smoking. It is crucial not to smoke during the first two days because it could negatively impact the healing process. 
  • Elevate the head. Use extra pillows to keep the head elevated. Laying too flat may allow blood to pool in the head and prolong healing.

After a tooth removal, proper aftercare is vital. Most simple extractions should heal between 7 to 10 days.

Dental Care You Can Trust  

Patients know and trust our authentic, dedicated, and loyal staff. Our entire Asheville Dental team has your best interest in mind and is always here to help and provide you with answers. 

You don’t have to live in pain. Contact us today and let’s get your smile brilliant again!  

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