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Pediatric Dental Associates
13846 SW 56th Street, Miami, FL 33175

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What to Expect with a Tooth Extraction

How do you feel when your dentist recommends a tooth extraction? This is probably the last thing you want to hear. No one wants to lose a tooth, and the thought of having it pulled sounds painful. Your dentist in Miamican explain the procedure to you, so you realize that it isn’t a painful, long process. Years ago, an extraction was not a pleasant experience, but today, it’s a quick, virtually painless procedure. It’s usually over before you know it. In many cases, it takes longer to numb the tooth than it does for your dentist to pull it. You may feel pressure on your jaw, but the pain sensations are blocked by a local anesthetic.

Tooth extractions are usually last options. A dentist will always try to preserve a tooth, since even a single tooth is important to maintaining your smile, chewing and speaking clearly. Unfortunately, some teeth that are broken or decayed don’t have enough tooth structure left to support a crown. Other people need extractions because their mouth is too crowded and the extra teeth will push the teeth out of alignment. Sometimes. teeth, especially wisdom teeth, become impacted and trapped under the gum.

Simple extractions are routine procedures done by dentists when the tooth is visible in the mouth. An experienced dentist will numb the area, loosen the tooth and then pull it out. When the tooth is impacted, you will need a surgical extraction. Your dental professional will have to cut the gum to access the tooth. Surgical extractions take longer to heal.

Is There a Way to Prepare for an Extraction?

Bring a list of all current prescriptions, over-the-counter-medications, vitamins, and supplements that you take. You’ll also have to provide a complete medical history. Don’t leave anything out, even if it seems irrelevant to you. Your dentist will look for:

  • Heart defects
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Bacterial endocarditis
  • Liver disease
  • Artificial joints
  • A compromised immune system

The American Dental Association, along with the American Heart Association, recommend dentists prescribe antibiotics to patients with these conditions to help prevent infections.

You can also use the time to ask your dentist any last-minute questions you have. You may want to verify your dental insurance covers extractions. Most dental offices have staff that deal with insurance companies and they can help you estimate your out-of-pocket expenses. If you don’t have a dental plan, ask about the cost of the extraction and your payment options.

Depending on whether you have a simple or surgical extraction, your anesthesia options can vary. If you have IV sedation or oral sedation with a surgical extraction, you may need to arrange a ride home. Local anesthesia is usually enough with a quick simple extraction, but if you’re anxious, ask if laughing gas (nitrous oxide) is an option. You won’t need a ride home if you have laughing gas as it wears off almost immediately.

What Do I Do After a Tooth Extraction?

It does not matter if you’ve had a surgical or simple extraction, you will heal quicker and reduce your chances of developing an infection if you follow your dentist’s instructions exactly. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask about it before you leave the office.

After the extraction, you will need rest to help your body heal. A blood clot has to form in the socket and you need to avoid doing anything strenuous for at least 24 hours. Plan your extraction for a time when you can lie around and take it easy for a day or two. Always keep your head elevated during your rest period to stop any residual bleeding.

Use ice packs and pain killers as directed by your dentist to minimize pain and swelling. With a simple extraction, an anti-inflammatory OTC pain reliever is usually sufficient. If you have a surgical extraction, your dentist may prescribe prescription painkillers. He or she will likely give you the prescription ahead of time so you don’t have to go in the drugstore with your mouth full of gauze.

You can’t disturb the clot, so be very careful with:

Oral Care

While you need to keep your mouth clean after an extraction to help prevent infections, wait 24 hours before brushing. Avoid the extraction site and don’t rinse. Do not use an alcohol-based mouthwash.


You can eat soft foods when you feel up to it, but again, you must avoid the extraction site. Nutritious foods high in protein will aid in healing. Try gelatin, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and other soft foods you like. Avoid drinking through a straw for at least 72 hours as the suction can dislodge the clot. Avoid alcohol.

Follow Your Dentist’s Directions

Your dentist may recommend a salt water rinse, which helps prevent infections.

Although complications are rare, you should contact your dentist right away if you notice any of the following:

  • Severe pain that gets worse over time
  • Extreme swelling
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Chills
  • A fever
  • Difficulty breathing

Some pain after an extraction is normal. The pain shouldn’t get worse the next day or the day after though. A sharp pain that radiates up to your ear can be a sign the clot has dislodged.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

You often hear about people having their wisdom teeth extracted and probably wonder why. Wisdom teeth are the third sets of molars which emerge, or try to emerge, in a person’s late teens or early 20s. While we once needed wisdom teeth to chew a mainly ray diet, we don’t need them anymore. Many people’s jaws are smaller today and simply don’t have room for four more molars.

When you don’t have room for your wisdom teeth, they either become stuck under the gum (impacted) or they emerge at an angle. Both instances are problematic. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain, inflammation of the gums and cysts. Erupted wisdom teeth that come in at an awkward angle are almost impossible to keep clean, so decay is a major problem. They can also push against the existing molars and damage them. Your teeth alignment is also in jeopardy as the wisdom teeth fight for space.

Your dentist in Miami may suggest removing your wisdom teeth before they cause any trouble. They will go over the advantages, such as removing the teeth while the roots are not fully formed and not having to deal with trying to brush and floss teeth so far back in the mouth. The disadvantages, such as the cost and risk of complications, like infections, from a surgical extraction are also a possibility. Either way, discuss the procedure with your dentist to choose the path that works the best for your oral health goals.

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Pediatric Dental Associates

13846 SW 56th Street, Miami, FL 33175

(786) 671-3904