Dentists employ a variety of techniques to treat dental problems. Examples are fillings for cavities, root canals and crowns to repair damaged teeth. Sometimes these efforts are unsuccessful, and one or more teeth must be removed. In severe cases, the dentist may have to extract all of a person’s teeth. Dental extractions are stressful, but you can make things easier by taking the proper steps to prepare for the procedure.
The Dental Extraction Process
Oral health care professionals use two techniques to perform tooth extractions. For a simple extraction, the dentist uses a tool called an elevator and a pair of forceps to pull the tooth. A surgical extraction is required for complex cases. In a surgical extraction, incisions are made in the gum are needed to release the teeth. Anesthesia must be administered for dental extractions. For a simple extraction, a local anesthetic is sufficient. For some surgical procedures, a general anesthetic may be necessary.
Talk to Your Dentist
Because a dental extraction is a surgical procedure, the steps you follow to prepare aare like those needed for any surgery. The process starts with a consultation with your dentist. Provide a list of all medications that you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements. The dentist needs this information because drugs and supplements may interact with anesthesia or other medications. If you have an infection, the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic. If a surgical extraction is required, you may need to schedule a pre-operative physical exam beforehand.
Extractions are generally outpatient procedures, so you won’t have to stay overnight in a hospital. Make arrangements to have a friend or relative keep in touch with you after you get home. Take care of shopping and other errands ahead of time. Stock up on foods that do not require much chewing. Avoid anything that requires using a straw, however. The sucking action can cause blood clots to dislodge. This may lead to bleeding or a condition known as dry socket. The latter may lengthen your recovery time an require extra treatment.
Because you will be given an anesthetic, you won’t be able to drive home. Have someone accompany you to your dental extraction appointment. Do not drink alcoholic beverages or smoke on the day of the procedure. You might have to avoid eating or drinking anything prior to your appointment.
Allow a few days after the dental extraction to recover. The first 24 hours are especially important. The best approach is to just take things easy. Physical activity increases the chance of excessive bleeding.