Tooth Extraction FAQ

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Is tooth extraction painful?

With modern anesthetic techniques, you won’t feel a thing during a tooth extraction procedure. We have all the advanced options to minimize any kind of pain due to oral health issues and dental procedures. Usually a topical solution is used to numb the area involved, followed by a local anesthetic injection that feels like a slight pinch. But there are a wide range of other options, depending on the procedure, the state of the patient’s oral health, and how she or he responds. Nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas, though it won’t actually cause you to start laughing out loud) can be inhaled to provide a sense of relaxation and reduce anxiety. Or if you want to be wide awake, you can watch movies or listen to music in a very comfortable dental chair.

For those who are very sensitive, there are pill and intravenous forms of mild or strong sedation. Generally, over-the-counter pain medication is adequate afterwards, but if something more is needed, we can prescribe it.

What is the process for extracting a tooth?

For most cases of traditional tooth extraction, our dentist wiggles the tooth to loosen it from the jawbone, then pulls it out. In some cases, particularly if this traditional method will cause too much trauma to the gums, we use the Piezo Ultrasonic System, which utilizes vibrations to make precision cuts in the bone without disturbing the gums.

How should I care for the extraction site afterwards?

You will be given detailed instructions for aftercare, such as to keep pressure on the site with gauze for a half hour to help the blood clot. If there is oozing later, apply a dry regular tea bag for 20 minutes. You should plan to use a cold compress on the outside of the jaw for 24 hours, 20 minutes on and off (do not use a heating pad during this period). When you lie down or go to sleep, keep your head elevated. Don’t rinse or spit on the first day or use a straw. Initially, eat soft foods (on the side opposite the extraction), such as Ensure, yogurt, eggs, pasta, and well-cooked vegetables (avoid salads, meats and hot or spicy foods). Do not smoke or drink alcohol during the first week. You will be advised on appropriate brushing and flossing. A prescription for antibiotics may or may not be necessary depending on your case.

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