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Tooth Extraction Expectations

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Tooth Extraction Expectations and Recovery Tips

Tooth extraction is one of the most common dental procedures available, but many people are still hesitant about undergoing the process. If you’re up for a tooth extraction, expectations checking and being more informed about it can allay your fears and help you prepare for a quick recovery.  

Reasons for tooth extraction

Several conditions can be a reason for your dentist to order or recommend extraction. Some of these reasons include: a tooth that is too lose for bone grafting; extensive decay; an extra tooth that blocks the growth of permanent teeth; infection or risk of infection; impacted wisdom teeth, and certain medical procedures that require the removal of teeth from the bone. Depending on your specific condition, you may need to undergo either a simple extraction or a surgical extraction.

What to expect pre-surgery

Before the actual extraction, you’ll undergo a thorough dental examination. If necessary, an X-ray may also be taken on the affected area, especially if a surgical removal is a possibility. In some cases, 3D imaging may be required to make sure no vital nerves, arteries and facial structures will be affected.

If surgery is indeed determined to be the best option for you, then you must provide your complete dental and medical history to your dental care team. This is to rule out allergies, contraindications to certain medications, and other considerations for surgery. If your teeth and gums show too much infection and inflammation, you may be asked to take a course of antibiotics for several days before the surgery, as a way of making sure the anesthesia takes full effect during the operation.  

What to do after the extraction

Depending on the anesthesia used, and more so if you have undergone surgery, it may be best to arrange for someone to accompany you to the clinic or drive you home after the tooth extraction.

Your aftercare regimen likewise depends on a case-to-case basis, so make sure to follow the instructions provided by the dentist. As a general guideline, however, the following tips apply to everyone who has just undergone a tooth extraction:

  • Swelling is expected. Applying ice packs to your cheeks can ease the inflammation.
  • You won’t feel pain during the extraction but you may feel discomfort afterwards, especially once the anesthesia wears off. Your dentist will prescribe medication to help you reduce and manage the pain.
  • Follow a soft diet for the first several days. Avoid hot food and beverages. Don’t drink through a straw and don’t make movements that create pressure within your mouth (sucking, spitting, etc.) and disturb the blood clot in the extraction area.
  • Gently swishing your mouth with warm water mixed with a pinch of salt helps relieve the bleeding.
  • Brush and floss carefully, making sure to avoid the area of extraction.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.


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