Our teeth are precious; we all know that. Imagine a toothless grin, and you’ll value your teeth even more. However, at some point in life, we need to eliminate one or two from the family so we can eat, drink and smile comfortably. A tooth extraction might be due to a wisdom tooth that has started to hurt or any tooth that is decaying (due to any reason), causing trouble for the whole set.
Tooth extraction is a standard dental procedure in which a tooth is removed from its socket in the jawbone. A dentist typically performs the extraction process, but more complex cases are referred to an oral surgeon. Extraction can be done under local anesthesia combined with sedation or general anesthesia. This largely depends on the complexity of the extraction and the patient’s needs. Dental costs vary from state to state, but in cities like Greenville, South Carolina, healthcare costs are 2% lower than the national average. So, if you ever need a tooth extraction, here’s a comprehensive guide on what to do and expect.
Where should you get your tooth extraction done?
The condition of your teeth directly impacts your health. You can not trust just anyone with it.
Choosing a clinic that is not just excellent and clean but also within your financial means is crucial. If you’re living in a city like Greenville, the cost might be slightly lower than the average national cost. So, when you need consultation or a tooth extraction, search for a highly qualified dentist who provides the best oral surgery in Greenville, SC and please do not settle for anything less.
Causes of Tooth Extraction
There are several reasons why a tooth might reach an unsalvageable stage and need to be extracted by the dentist.
Caries or Tooth Decay
Over 1 in 4 or 26% of adults in the US have untreated cavities in their teeth, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while 13% of youths aged between 5 and 19 years have the same.
Untreated cavities, commonly referred to as caries, are the most common oral health issue globally and the least paid heed to. If left untreated, caries or infections can spread to the gums and underlying bone. When the condition of such a tooth progresses beyond repair, the tooth must be extracted to avoid further damage to the oral cavity.
Periodontitis or Gum Disease
Another condition that might lead to tooth loss is periodontal or gum disease. Periodontitis may occur acutely or chronically. In progressive stages, bone loss around the area becomes inevitable. Around 9% of adults in the US are severely affected.
When the structure supporting the tooth gets damaged, it can no longer retain its position and becomes mobile within its socket. While it can be saved with a root canal treatment in the early stages, a tooth with grade 2 or 3 mobility can no longer be saved.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions
With the evolution of jaws to a smaller size, many wisdom teeth are impacted and often cause pain and discomfort. In such cases, the patient may go for an extraction. Over 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted in the US annually from about 5 million people. This makes up a total cost of $3 billion.
Care Instructions after an Extraction
The period following the extraction of your tooth is particularly crucial. You risk developing complications or dislodging the clot forming over the extraction wound during this time. Your dentist will provide you with oral and written care instructions to follow at home. These ensure that the recovery phase goes smoothly and that potential complications are avoided.
Instructions to Follow Immediately After Extraction
Right after you get your tooth removed, stick to the following instructions:
- Your dentist will place a piece of sterile gauze over the site of the wound. Bite firmly on it for 30 minutes or as instructed. The purpose of this is to achieve adequate hemostasis.
- If saliva pools in your mouth, do not spit it out, as this creates negative pressure in the oral cavity, dislodging the blood clot in its initial stages of formation.
- Once you have removed the gauze, consume something cold to control bleeding.
- The analgesic effect of local anesthesia generally wears off between 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the administration technique used. This is the appropriate time to take the painkiller prescribed by the dentist to avoid excessive pain and associated discomfort.
- You might sense a metallic taste in your mouth because of minute amounts of blood mixed with your saliva. This is completely normal and nothing to be worried about.
Instructions to Follow Later On
- Do not spit for at least 24 hours after the extraction to allow the blood clot to form properly.
- Avoid rinsing aggressively for the next 24 hours, as this practice might dislodge the blood clot.
- Avoid using a straw, as this also generates negative pressure in the oral cavity, dislodging the clot.
- Avoid hot foods or beverages for 2 to 3 days as heat increases blood flow and, consequentially, bleeding.
- Use the other non-extraction site to chew for 2-3 days to let the wound heal efficiently.
- A little bit of swelling or inflammation of the face on the side of the extraction is normal and subsides spontaneously in a few days. It may take a week to resolve in the case of surgical extraction. For excessive swelling, use a cold compress or a bag of frozen peas over the affected area on the first day after the extraction. Give it a break the next day. Switch to a warm compress on the third day.
Complications during recovery
If you fail to abide by the instructions given by the dentist after dental extraction, any of the following complications may arise.
If the patient swishes water around their mouth vigorously, spits out, or uses a straw, the blood clot does not form properly, exposing the bone. The resulting condition is called a dry socket. This causes severe sensitivity and shooting pain at the extraction site. Since this is not an infection, as commonly misconceived, the treatment constitutes only painkillers and an obtundent agent.
An infection may occur if the patient has a weakened immune system caused by an underlying health condition. In this case, the dentist usually prescribes adjunctive antibiotics, for example, penicillin or amoxicillin.
In conclusion, proper care after a tooth extraction is essential to ensure a successful healing process and to prevent complications. It is important to follow the instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon and report any complications to the dentist before they begin to worsen. With proper care and attention, the healing process should go smoothly, and you will soon be able to return to your normal activities.