There are a variety of different surgical procedures in dentistry. Minor oral surgery includes a range of operations in the oral cavity such as tooth removal, extraction of wisdom teeth, biopsies and more. The most common type of minor oral surgery is tooth extraction.
When is a tooth extracted?
There are many considerations that come along with a tooth extraction. Tooth extractions are usually considered the ‘last resort’ by a dentist. This means that there is no other solution but to remove the tooth entirely. Some reasons to extract a tooth are:
- Extensive decaying of the tooth
- Broken tooth
- Loosening – the tooth is moving in its socket
- Unwanted extra tooth or a milk tooth remaining in an adult mouth
- Orthodontic treatment
Every tooth has layers, the innermost of which is the ‘pulp’ which contains blood vessels and nerves. If a tooth is decayed, the dentist can restore it with a number of steps.
To decide which step to take, your dentist can recommend you take an X-ray to diagnose the condition of the tooth. The dentist will recommend a filling or a root canal treatment depending on the dental condition.
In some cases, the tooth is destroyed too much to be able to be restored. Alternatively, you might have a fractured or broken tooth that cannot be fixed. In that case, the only solution is to get the tooth removed. If there is an infection that cannot be cured, it is recommended to get it extracted as soon as possible.
What to do before getting your tooth extraction?
Before an extraction procedure, let your dentist know of any medications you are taking or any health conditions. Do not arrive empty stomach for your appointment and make sure you have had a full meal before getting your tooth extracted. This is because you cannot eat for 2-3 hours after your procedure until the local anesthesia wears off.
In case of an infection and pain, the dentist may recommend certain analgesics and antibiotics for a couple of days before extraction. He may even ask you to stop certain medications like blood thinners. Such medications interfere with the procedure of extraction.
Important instructions after tooth extraction!
- Bite the gauze pad between your teeth for at least an hour.
- Take the medicines as prescribed by your dentist.
- Do not rinse your mouth or spit for 24 hours after the procedure.
- It is advised to eat soft food like rice or porridge that does not require much chewing.
- Avoid eating any spicy or hot food for 2-3 days as it may irritate and burn the gums in that area and cause bleeding.
- Do not use a straw as the sucking action may cause more bleeding and pain.
- Avoid smoking or eating hot foods until the area is healed.
These instructions serve to promote the healing of the tooth socket. Indulge in something cold and sweet a couple of hours after the tooth is pulled. Take rest for the day and take the pain killer prescribed by your dentist in case of any pain.
If you still have pain the next day, you can try rinsing with warm saltwater throughout the day. Additionally, use an ice pack on the side of your face a few times in the day.
If the socket does not heal normally, it can give rise to infection or dry socket, a painful complication of tooth extraction. See your dentist if bleeding or severe pain persists after 4 hours.
The dentist gives you stitches or sutures in most cases of tooth removal. You should visit the clinic in about seven days to remove the sutures. Overall, it takes 7-15 days to recover after tooth extraction. If you experience any severe pain or swelling, make an appointment with the dentist.
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