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Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics of Midland Park
6 Prospect Street, Suite 1A, Midland Park, NJ 07432

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What to Expect with a Tooth Extraction

Hearing you need a tooth pulled is a source of anxiety for many people. If you’ve never had an extraction before, you’re probably imaging a painful experience. If you know what will happen, what you’ll feel and how long it will take to recover, you’ll feel a lot better about having an extraction. Your dentist in Midland Park will do everything he or she can to ensure your comfort. A simple extraction done in a dentist’s office is fast and virtually painless.

There are two kinds of extractions: basic (simple) and surgical. Simple extractions are very basic procedures. Your dentist will numb the area first, before loosening the tooth and pulling it out with dental forceps. You’ll feel no pain, only pressure as your dentist rocks the tooth to loosen it. Surgical extractions, which are typically done by an oral surgeon, involve making a small incision in the gum to access the tooth. You would only need a surgical extraction if you had a tooth broken at the gumline or an impacted wisdom tooth.

Remember, your dentist wouldn’t suggest an extraction if it wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately, some teeth are damaged or decayed beyond repair. Dentists may also need to remove a tooth to make space or to prepare for orthodontic treatment. If you do have to lose a tooth, your dentist can explain your replacement options.

How Can I Prepare for a Tooth Extraction?

There isn’t a lot you need to do for a tooth extraction. If you’re having a surgical extraction and IV sedation, you will want to arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you for a few hours.

Write down all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. Include any vitamins and nutritional supplements as well.

Prepare to give a complete medical history. Your dentist will need to know everything, including whether you have had or currently have:

  • Diabetes
  • A heart defect
  • Artificial joints
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Liver disease
  • Bacterial endocarditis
  • A compromised immune system

What Happens After Getting a Tooth Pulled?

After having your tooth pulled, you’ll go home biting gently on gauze pad to catch any residual bleeding. When you get home, you should rest for at least 24 hours. Keep your head elevated to help the bleeding stop. Your dental professional will explain how ice packs and certain OTC pain relievers can take care of any swelling you’re experiencing. Most simple extractions take about a week to heal. A surgical extraction will take up to two weeks.

In just a few hours, a blood clot will form at the extraction site. It’s essential to help it stay there; dislodging it can cause a very painful condition called dry socket. Tips for keeping the clot intact include:

  1. You can brush your teeth carefully after 24 hours, avoiding the site. This will help keep infections at bay. Don’t rinse.
  2. Eat soft, nutritious foods using the other side of your mouth. Yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, scrambled eggs and soups are good options.
  3. Do not use a straw. The suction can pull the clot out.

If you notice any of the following issues, contact your dentist right away:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Pus coming out of the extraction site
  • Extreme swelling
  • Unbearable pain

A radiating, intense pain a day or two after an extraction can indicate a dry socket. This is when the blood does not clot or the clot is dislocated. Your dentist can help with this as the pain should only be mild or moderate and easily relieved with OTC pain medication.

If an infection develops, you may have a fever and swollen glands. You may also notice pus around the extraction site.

Complications are not common. If your recovery goes smoothly, there is no need to follow up with the dentist except to discuss tooth replacement options.

Why Would I Need Wisdom Teeth Extractions?

Wisdom teeth are the molars in the very back of your mouth that emerge last, usually around age 17 or in your early 20s. There are normally four wisdom teeth that are waiting to emerge, but some individuals have none at all. Our ancestors need wisdom teeth to chew their basically raw food diet. We cook our meats and vegetables today and we do not need the extra molars, so our jaws became smaller. This causes the problems with impacted (stuck inside the gum) wisdom teeth and partially emerged wisdom teeth.

If wisdom teeth can’t emerge straight because they don’t have the room, they will come in crooked and damage the nearby molars. They will also cause pain and will be challenging to keep clean. Dentists can pull wisdom teeth that have emerged; you will have anesthesia options to make the procedure virtually painless.

Impacted wisdom teeth that can’t break through the gum will cause a whole other set of problems. You would need a surgical extraction to remove them in order to avoid gum inflammation, infections, swollen lymph nodes, pain and swelling.

Dentists routinely x-ray the very back of teen’s mouths to see if the wisdom teeth are positioned correctly and have room to come in straight. Many dentists will suggest wisdom teeth extractions if the teeth are likely to cause problems. With teens, the roots of the wisdom are not fully formed, so they are easier to remove. Teens also heal faster than adults, with fewer complications.

You may see a dentist who does not recommend wisdom teeth extractions if they are not causing any problems right now. They don’t believe the cost and risk of surgery is warranted. It is always up to the patient if they want proactive wisdom teeth extractions. A caring dentist in Midland Park can explain the advantages and disadvantages of early extractions.

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6 Prospect Street, Suite 1A, Midland Park, NJ 07432

(201) 972-6846

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