What To Expect When Getting a Tooth Extracted

Are you gearing up to have a tooth pulled? We understand how daunting it can be for many people as you anticipate a tooth extraction. The important thing for you to know is that your dentist and oral surgeon are experts at removing teeth with the least amount of discomfort to you. Plus, we won’t leave you high and dry to take care of it alone! 

At Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we are here to walk you through every step of your tooth extraction and give you all the tools you need to avoid anxiety and recover with ease. Follow along for our tips below to learn what to expect and how to care for yourself following a tooth extraction.

Why You Might Need a Tooth Pulled

Oral health is a complex thing, and sometimes despite your best efforts, the healthiest option is to have a tooth extracted. The most common reason that people have teeth pulled is due to extreme tooth decay or injury that cannot be fixed through other means. It is also sometimes necessary to pull a tooth when there is crowding and your teeth are too big for your mouth. If a tooth cannot grow because there isn’t enough space, pulling a tooth to make room can be helpful.

Another reason a tooth might need to be pulled is due to infection or risk of infection. If you are immunocompromised, are undergoing cancer treatments, or have other complications that make infection dangerous, it’s best to discuss your options with your dentist or oral surgeon. You can trust that your dentist will not recommend pulling a tooth unless absolutely necessary, knowing that it will help improve your health in other important ways.

What to Expect at the Oral Surgeon’s Office

Now that you and your dentist have agreed that a tooth extraction is necessary, and your scheduled appointment is looming, here are some things you can expect. 

First, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around where the tooth is being pulled. This will keep you from feeling much pain during the procedure, though you might feel some pressure and sensation. If you are feeling pain, you can always let your surgeon know so that can modify their anesthesia or approach. 

Your doctor will use sterilized equipment to firmly grasp the tooth that needs to be extracted and gently but firmly pull it out. No need to worry about this part, because of your anesthetic you should feel almost nothing!

Once the tooth is out, your doctor will likely put gauze in your mouth and ask you to bite down in order to add some pressure. This should help reduce bleeding and encourage natural clotting. You may need to keep gauze in your mouth for the next few hours and can take it out once you see less blood and trust that there is a good clot covering the extraction site.

How to Care for Yourself After a Tooth Extraction

Typically you will experience some pain once the anesthetic wears off, and in that case, you can support yourself by taking some painkillers as prescribed by your doctor. You should also ice the area often to help reduce swelling and pain. Plan to rest and relax without too much physical activity for at least 24 hours, as well as only consuming soft foods and liquids.

The goal is to avoid dislodging the blood clot that is keeping your nerve from being exposed, an event called a dry socket that can be extremely painful. By being extra gentle with yourself and being cautious with what you eat, you should be feeling better after a day or two, and back to normal in a week or so! 

Don’t forget to continue brushing and flossing as usual to help keep your mouth clean and avoid infection. You will want to skip smoking and drinking from a straw for at least 24 hours to reduce your chance of dislodging the clot and encourage normal healing. 

When to Call Your Doctor

If you notice unusual symptoms, outside of normal pain, you should give your doctor a call to make sure that there is no chance of infection at the extraction site. If you feel as if you have a fever with a headache, chills, etc, if you notice extreme swelling at the extraction site or discharge, nausea or vomiting, or chest pain and shortness of breath, definitely give your doctor a call!

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve made it through the extraction and healing process, it’s time to make some decisions with your dentist! If there is now a missing space in your smile, your teeth can sometimes shift to compensate. To avoid shifting, you may need to add an implant or fixed bridge to help support chewing and your jaw bite!

What To Expect When Getting a Tooth Pulled

We Are Here for You!

Dr. McDonough and Dr. Phillips at the Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery have been extracting teeth for many years and are experts at caring for whatever oral health surgeries their patients need. They are the best place in the Jonesboro area to go for your teeth extraction and other oral surgery! Keep us in mind and give our office a call!