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510 N. Washington St, Suite 301, Falls Church, VA 22046

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What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction

If you have a tooth that is painful, broken or damaged, your dentist may recommend that you have the tooth removed. This is generally the remedy of last resort in the dental field. Your dental team may recommend a root canal or a crown to protect damaged or decayed teeth that can potentially be saved. If your tooth is no longer viable, however, you may be a good candidate for a dental extraction. Here is some basic information on tooth extractions and what to expect during your upcoming procedure.

Why Tooth Extractions Are Necessary

Damage to teeth caused by decay or by an accident can cause issues for adjacent teeth and could result in injury to your tongue or the sides of your mouth. If your dentist cannot repair or restore your tooth to a functional condition, you may need to schedule an extraction for that tooth. Once the tooth has been removed, your dentist will typically provide you with a few options and treatment plans that can replace the missing tooth with an artificial tooth or bridge.

If your dentist recommends an extraction, you can prepare in a few ways for this procedure. Be sure to ask your dentist any questions you have about the extraction process and the recovery period that will follow. This will ensure that your procedure goes as smoothly as possible and will help you heal more quickly after your extraction is complete.

Preparing for a Tooth Extraction

Before deciding on an extraction, your dentist will typically take X-rays of your teeth to determine the precise condition of your tooth. If a root canal and crown could potentially repair your damaged tooth, your dentist will typically recommend these procedures to help you retain as many of your natural teeth as possible. If the tooth cannot be saved, your dentist will schedule an extraction and will discuss your options for replacing the missing tooth after your procedure is complete.

Some of the questions your dentist may ask in the period leading up to your procedure include the following:

  • Do you have a history of bacterial endocarditis or other heart defects or problems?
  • Are you immunocompromised?
  • Do you have liver disease, thyroid disease or other systemic conditions?
  • Do you have artificial heart valves or artificial joints?
  • Are you currently taking blood thinners or suffering from hemophilia or other blood clotting disorders?

If you answer in the affirmative to any of these questions, you may be at higher risk of infections, complications and other issues related to your extraction. Your dentist can adjust your procedure and provide you with added protections against negative effects associated with these medical problems.

Patients at higher risk of infections may also be prescribed a course of antibiotics to reduce these risks. If your dentist recommends antibiotics, be sure to take all of these medications as prescribed to ensure the best results from your extraction.

Pain Relief During an Extraction

Your dental office in Falls Church will offer you options for managing pain during your procedures. Some of the most commonly requested pain management options include the following:

  • Local anesthetic that is injected at the site of the extraction and in the surrounding areas
  • Nitrous oxide, which is inhaled during the procedure
  • Oral sedatives that are administered before the procedure begins
  • Intravenous sedation
  • General anesthesia, in which you will be unconscious during some or all of the extraction

You and your general dentist in Falls Church will discuss these options and will decide together on the right pain relief option for you.

Types of Extractions

Dentists usually perform two basic types of extractions:

  • Simple extractions are performed with instruments and usually take place under local anesthetics. This type of extraction is also referred to as having your tooth pulled because of the method by which the tooth is extracted. If you and your dentist agree on local anesthetic for your simple extraction, you may experience sensations of pressure or pulling when your tooth is removed using this method.
  • Surgical extractions may require additional pain relief and sedation. Oral surgeons can recommend various types of pain relief that will assist you in managing anxiety before the procedure and in dealing with discomfort during your extraction. If you will need general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, you may want to plan for a ride home after your extraction is completed. This can ensure your safety and well-being after your procedure.
  • Wisdom teeth extractions may not always be necessary. If you do need your wisdom teeth removed, however, your dentist will let you know if you will need oral surgery or if a simple extraction is adequate to remove these late-developing teeth.

After the Procedure

Your dentist will provide you with detailed information on the procedure and on aftercare requirements. Generally, you should avoid lying flat or drinking from a straw for at least four hours after your procedure. You should also plan to take off at least 24 hours after an extraction to avoid dislodging the newly formed blood clot. Do not brush or floss in the immediate area of the extraction site. Sticking to soft foods and liquids for about 24 hours is also recommended to prevent injury or pain.

After 24 hours have passed, you can rinse your mouth with one-half teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of warm water. This can eliminate bacteria and can speed up healing for your extraction site. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, be sure to finish the entire course to reduce your risk of infection.

Your dental team in Falls Church will provide you with practical and positive solutions for tooth extractions, implants, bridges and many other procedures that can help you look and feel your best. By entrusting your local dentist with your dental health, you can enjoy brilliant smiles for years into the future.

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