People get teeth extracted for many reasons, including cavities, infections and to create more room in the mouth for crowded teeth. Having teeth pulled can be a scary experience, but knowing what to expect and how to care for your mouth after the procedure can make the process more tolerable.
The dentist will give the patient a local anesthetic in the mouth to numb the area before extracting the tooth or teeth. The injection is uncomfortable and causes a pinching sensation, but it's generally quick and often considered the worst part of the procedure. Keep your mouth open and avoid moving to avoid prolonging the injection and causing more pain than necessary.
Once numb, the dentist will use forceps to wiggle the tooth until it is loose enough to extract. According to Animated Teeth, the wiggling of the tooth expands the socket of the tooth and separates the ligaments so the tooth can be removed. The extraction will cause pressure, but you should not feel any pain.
It's common for your face to appear swollen after a tooth extraction. An ice pack will usually bring down the swelling.
The dentist will place gauze on the area where the tooth was extracted to minimize bleeding. Do not remove the gauze earlier than instructed by your dentist. According to Animated Teeth, if the gauze has not reduced the bleeding within an hour, a moistened tea bag can help.
Antibiotics may be given to treat pain from an infection. If you are prescribed antibiotics, finish the prescription. Do not stop in the middle of taking your medication just because the symptoms have disappeared. According to Hospital Soup, discontinuing your medication prematurely could allow an infection to return, and your body may build a resistance to the antibiotic.
Depending on the amount of work done during the tooth extraction, your dentist may prescribe a narcotic for the pain. However, you may only be told to take an over-the-counter painkiller such as ibuprofen.
If possible, take a few days off work because rest is a crucial part of healing for any part of the body.
What to Avoid
Avoid brushing the extracted area. After 24 hours, you can resume brushing your teeth, but do so with mild pressure.
Smoking and drinking from a straw can lead to a dry socket, which is very painful. According to Dental Gentle Care, dry socket occurs when the blood clot is dislodged from the site of the tooth extraction. The blood clot is important to the healing process, so it needs to remain intact.
Your dentist may suggest a liquid diet or food with little consistency following the procedure. Applesauce, yogurt and gelatin are good options after a tooth is removed. Avoid eating solid foods because they can get lodged in the socket. Avoid hot foods because they can burn away at the necessary blood clot.
There should not be a large amount of blood after a tooth extraction--only some small drops, if any, but if the opening continues to persistently bleed, contact your dentist.
Excruciating pain is not common after a tooth extraction. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, it's possible you have an infection, a dry socket or the pain medication given by your dentist is not working. Contact your dentist to see what steps are needed to minimize the pain.
Tooth extraction is covered by most dental insurance plans, so the out-of-pocket cost depends on the deductible and the co-pay for the insurance policy.
According to Cost Helper, If a patient has to pay out of pocket, the cost can range from $75 to $650 per tooth. It's important to discuss the cost of the procedure before the tooth is extracted. If you cannot afford to pay in one lump sum, many dentists will offer a payment plan until your bill is paid in full.
The cost may be higher depending on the pain medication that is prescribed.