There are various reasons why a dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. In the event of tooth decay or gum disease, it may be necessary to extract a tooth to ensure the rest of your mouth is healthy. An extraction may be required if a tooth is causing damage to neighboring teeth.
Treatment of tooth decay and periodontal disease: A common cause of tooth decay is dental plaque, which builds up on teeth gradually. When plaque is not removed from the teeth, it can lead to cavities, which weaken the structure of teeth over time. It may be necessary for your dentist to extract the damaged part of the tooth to treat this condition.
Removing teeth to prevent additional damage: It is sometimes necessary to permanently remove a tooth that has become loose over time. When a tooth has been weakened by decay or injury, it may be required to remove it to prevent further deterioration of the tooth or the bone that supports it.
Extracting teeth that could damage other teeth: Over time, wear and movement can cause certain teeth to crowd and damage adjacent teeth. Your dentist may recommend that you have one or more teeth extracted in these cases to prevent further harm and discomfort.
Three Ways to Prepare for Tooth Extraction
- Mentally prepare. Nervousness about the procedure is natural, but if you find yourself worrying, find ways to divert your attention. Take a few deep breaths and concentrate on relaxing or simply stay busy.
- Over-the-counter medications can help relieve pain. Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen all work by preventing or reducing swelling and inflammation.
- After midnight, refrain from eating or drinking the night before the extraction. Additionally, take care to avoid alcoholic beverages, since they can decrease blood flow to the gums and make it more difficult for the healing process to begin even after soreness has subsided.**
Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Extractions
Does it hurt to have a tooth pulled by a dentist?
No. The tissue surrounding the affected tooth will be completely numbed before extraction. You may feel a minor pinch, but dental extractions are not painful procedures. You may experience tenderness and soreness as the anesthesia wears off, but this can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
How long does it take to recover from a dental extraction?
You should use caution for the first 48-72 hours following a tooth extraction to allow for successful clotting and healing. Your dentist will provide you with after-care instructions, to make sure the hole closes and heals properly. This may take a week. It can take a few weeks for the soft tissue to completely heal.
What can I eat after a tooth extraction?
It is best to stick with soft foods after having a tooth extracted. You should also avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the tooth was removed. Do not use straws, as the suction can loosen clots. You should avoid alcohol and smoking as well. Your dentist will provide you with suggestions of foods to eat while you recover.