If you need to get one tooth or multiple teeth extracted, it can be helpful to know how to prepare and what to expect both during and after the procedure. Here, our Calgary dentists explain the process.
Before Your Extraction
Before your extraction is performed, you will likely have to go to your dental office for an initial consultation and preparation.
Dental technology, such as digital X-rays, can help inform your dentist in planning the extraction. If you are having wisdom teeth removed, your dentist might take a panoramic X-ray, which provides a picture of all of your teeth and the surrounding tissues at once.
Your dentist will provide a plan for the extraction appointment for you, including pre-and post-procedure instructions, as well as recommendations for any antibiotics, anesthesia, or sedation required. Your dentist will also answer any questions that you might have about the procedure during this time, and you will schedule your extraction appointment.
You might be prescribed antibiotics to take before and after surgery if you have an infection, a weakened immune system, certain medical conditions, or if the procedure will be especially long.
Your dentist will give you instructions to follow to prepare for the surgery. Some things your instructions may include are:
- On the day of the appointment, you should wear short sleeves or sleeves that are easy to roll up (if you will be receiving an IV).
- If you are receiving any kind of sedative, arrange for a ride home from the procedure.
- Don't eat or drink anything for six to eight hours before the procedure.
- If you have a cold up to a week before the surgery, call your dentist so that they can determine if the procedure should be delayed. If you had nausea and vomiting the night before the procedure, call the doctor's office first thing in the morning. You might need to reschedule the extraction appointment until you feel better.
- Do not smoke on the day of surgery. This might increase your risk of developing a painful problem called dry socket.
During the Procedure
Your extraction will likely be performed in one of the following two ways:
A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that is fully erupted and visible over the gum line. During a simple extraction, the dentist will likely loosen the tooth with an instrument called an elevator, and then use forceps to remove it.
Most simple extractions can be done using just a local anesthetic. Anxious patients might receive drugs to help them relax.
A surgical extraction is somewhat more complex and is used in cases where a tooth has broken off at the gum line or has not erupted through the gum line. During this procedure, your dentist will likely make a small incision into your gum to extract the tooth.
For a surgical extraction, you will receive a local anesthetic, and you might also have intravenous anesthesia. Some people might need general anesthesia, including those with specific medical conditions and young children.
After The Procedure
- After your procedure, be sure to rest for the remainder of the day. Keep your head elevated using an extra pillow.
- Avoid hot food or drinks until the anesthetic wears off so that you don't accidentally burn your mouth. Also, chew carefully to avoid biting your cheek or tongue.
- To prevent dislodging the blood clot, do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours, or eat on that side of your mouth. Avoid the temptation to prod the area with your tongue as well.
- Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours, as it can encourage bleeding and delay healing.
- You can brush your teeth, but be careful to avoid the extraction site.
- There might be some slight bleeding for the first day or so. You can place a cotton ball in the area for about 15 minutes to quell the bleeding. If the bleeding continues for more than two hours, contact your dentist.
- The extraction site might be sore or tender for a few days following the procedure. If you feel pain, take an over-the-counter pain killer and/or apply ice to the cheek over the extraction site.
Your dentist might request that you attend a follow-up appointment. During this appointment, the dentist will remove any stitches that might have been needed, and check that the area is healing well.