Tooth Extraction Services at All Smiles Dentistry
There are a number of reasons why you could end up needing a tooth to be extracted by a dentist, so it’s fairly likely that a tooth extraction will be a reality for you during your lifetime. The good news is that with modern dental technology, pulling teeth has never been easier or more painless, and having one or more teeth removed can be useful for a whole host of reasons.
If you’re looking for a dental practice to handle your tooth extraction, you’re in good hands with the team at All Smiles Dentistry in Lake Stevens, WA. Here are some frequently asked questions that we get about tooth extractions. If you have a question that you don’t see here, call our office to learn more.
What Is a Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction, no matter the cause, is a routine procedure that’s carried out when one or more teeth need to be removed. Teeth are connected to a socket in the jawbone by tissue called roots. Tooth extraction involves the separation of the tooth from its socket.
How Are Teeth Extracted?
The method of extraction depends on the cause. When diseased teeth are removed, the roots that hold each tooth in place are usually rotted to the degree that teeth can be pulled with little resistance. There are some cases in which healthy teeth need to be removed, which makes the process slightly more difficult. For example, if you need teeth surgically removed—which is more the job of an oral surgeon than a dentist—teeth may be broken and the pieces extracted, like in the case of removal of an impacted wisdom tooth, for example.
What’s the Purpose of Tooth Extractions?
Teeth may need to be extracted for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include:
- Teeth need to be removed to make room for braces or aligners, dentures and other implants
- Teeth may be diseased. If the root becomes infected, diseased teeth may need to be removed
- Wisdom teeth, the molars that commonly come in during adolescence, may have to be removed because they don’t fit in many people’s mouths
When surgery is needed to extract one or more teeth, a dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to complete the procedure.
Before any type of tooth extraction, a dentist will administer a local anesthetic that numbs the affected area so that you’ll barely feel anything during or for some time after the procedure is complete.
The recovery may involve some soreness, but a pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be helpful, per your dentist’s orders. The recovery will also involve special instructions to reduce pain and pain duration. For example, you shouldn’t drink through a straw to avoid dry socket, a painful condition in which the clot is pulled from the newly empty tooth socket.
How long does it take to remove a tooth?
How long tooth extraction takes depends on whether you’re getting one or multiple teeth extracted. Depending on the number of teeth that need to be extracted, your dentist will need to numb the affected areas, which takes 10 to 15 minutes. Then your dentist will remove the needed teeth, a process that takes anywhere from three to 15 minutes per tooth. Afterward, your dentist will clean you up, perform any need postoperative care, and you’re released to go home. In total, your appointment could last anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes or longer, especially if you’re under inhalation sedation.
What to do after a tooth extraction
After your tooth has been extracted, you may or may not receive stitches. You will have to bite down on gauze to stop any bleeding from the socket and apply ice to prevent swelling. A blood clot will develop in the socket. Since the formation of the blood clot is vital for the recovery process, avoid:
- Drinking from a straw
- Rinsing or spitting
- Brushing or flossing on the extraction site
- Smoking and drinking
- Lying down flat
- Rigorous activity for 24 hours after the procedure
After 24 hours, you may rinse with a saline solution to prevent infection. Take all prescribed painkillers. In addition to these steps, follow all your dentist’s postoperative instructions to foster a smooth recovery process.
What to tell your dentist before you have a tooth removed
You should inform your dentist of your full medical history, especially if you are at a higher risk of infection due to an underlying condition or issue.
Important conditions to inform your dentist of include:
- Liver disease
- Heart defects or man-made or damaged heart valves
- Impaired immune system
- Artificial joints
- Bacterial endocarditis
Depending on your medications, infection risks, or supplements, you may receive specialized treatment like taking antibiotics before and after the extraction.
What is the healing process like after a tooth extraction?
It takes around one to two weeks for gum and bone tissue to grow over the extraction site. If you received stitches, they will dissolve within a few days. You should expect a full recovery of the socket within three to four weeks after the procedure. Of course, call your dentist if you’re experiencing any intense or lingering pain, swelling, or the feeling something is wrong.
When to call your dentist
While you recover, be on the lookout for the any signs of infection such as:
- Swelling and redness
- Pus or discharge from the extraction site
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath or coughing
- Chest pain
Also watch out for the symptoms of dry socket, which include extreme sensitivity while eating, speaking, drinking, and breathing.
Is Tooth Extraction Expensive? Is It Covered by Insurance?
A tooth extraction may be expensive, depending on the extraction process that’s required. For example, having an impacted wisdom tooth removed by an oral surgeon will be more expensive than having your dentist remove a tooth to make room for an implant. However, the majority of tooth extractions are covered by dental insurance.
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