What To Expect From Your Tooth Extraction

Whenever possible, dentists try to avoid performing extractions. It's always best to preserve the original tooth if that's an option. However, sometimes extractions are the only option. If your dentist has told you that you'll need to have a tooth removed, you might be feeling nervous, but rest assured you're in good hands. Here are four things you should know when you're getting ready for your tooth extraction.

1. You can be given local or general anesthetic.

In some cases, your doctor may numb your mouth using a local anesthetic like Novocaine before your procedure. This is just like the numbing treatment used before you have a cavity filled. In other cases, your doctor may recommend that you go under general anesthesia. This can be an option for nervous patients or people who are having more than one extraction performed. If you opt for general anesthesia, remember to bring a trusted person with you so they can drive you home after your extraction.

2. You'll need to take all your antibiotics.

Your dentist will send you home with a prescription for antibiotics, and it's important that you take it as directed. Antibiotics are used to ensure that you don't develop an infection following your tooth extraction since it's a form of minor surgery. Remember to finish all of your antibiotics because stopping early could breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria in your system.

3. You'll need to avoid a dry socket.

After you have a tooth removed, a blood clot will form in the empty space. This blood clot is important for your mouth's healing process, and it can be very painful if you accidentally dislodge it. A dislodged blood clot is called a dry socket. Prevent dry sockets by following your dentist's aftercare instructions. Avoid smoking or drinking through straws, and try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth if possible. Your dentist will let you know when it's safe to resume all your usual activities.

4. You'll want to manage your pain.

After the anesthetic wears off following your procedure, you may experience pain and discomfort. Your dentist will prescribe you strong pain medication to treat the pain, and it's best to take your first dose as soon as you get home before the pain becomes a problem. Biologically speaking, preventing pain is easier than stopping it once it starts, so try to take your painkillers on a regular schedule as directed by your doctor. Warm compresses pressed to the outside of your cheek can also help alleviate pain.