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Dental Associates of Northern Virginia - Potomac
2010 Opitz Boulevard, # D, Woodbridge, VA 22191

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What to Expect with a Tooth Extraction

If you dread going to the dentist, you’re not alone. The tools utilized, along with the uncertainty of what could happen at the appointment, leads to a great deal of fear surrounding visits to the dentist. Becoming educated on what to expect can assist in easing some of your anxiety surrounding seeing your dentist.

One of the most feared types of dental procedures are tooth extractions. Losing a tooth as a child can be an exciting event. It’s not so exciting when you’re an adult. Seeing a compassionate dentist in Woodbridge, understanding cost, knowing what happens during an extraction, properly preparing for the extraction, and learning all about the recovery process are all things that you can do to help you feel a little better about your procedure.

When a tooth is broken, damaged or loose, it sometimes becomes necessary for it to be extracted by a professional. Tooth extractions consist of your tooth being taken out of the socket that is located within the bone. There are many reasons behind why your dentist may decide to remove your tooth. Regardless of the reasons, you should know about the costs involved, what to expect during the extraction, what you can do to prepare for the procedure and what the recovery process will look like.

Before your extraction procedure, your dentist will take an x-ray. This will help your dentist to develop a strategy for removing the tooth. In addition to this, your dentist will talk to you about your medical history. This will help him or her to decide what the best method of sedation will be. In the days leading up to your extraction procedure, you will need to communicate with your dentist if you experience anything that could lead to complications during your surgery. If you have a cold, nausea, vomiting or nasal congestion in the week before your procedure, you may need to have your extraction delayed.

Things to Do Before Your Tooth Extraction Procedure

Before your surgery, you will need to tell your dentist in Woodbridge about any medications or supplements you are currently taking. You should also let your dentist know about any medical conditions that could cause you to be at a higher risk of having an infection afterwards. These types of conditions include:

  • History of bacterial endocarditis
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Liver disease (cirrhosis)
  • Damaged or man-made heart valves
  • Impaired immune system
  • Artificial joints, such as knee or hip replacements

There are two types of extraction procedures: simple and surgical. Simple extractions are done when the dentist can see the tooth inside of your mouth. The procedure consists of the dentist loosening the tooth and gently pulling it out. Surgical extractions are done when the tooth is located beneath the gum line. The procedure consists of the dentist making a small incision on the gums so that the tooth can be removed.

Local anesthetic is used in both types of procedures. For some surgical extractions, your dentist may use an intravenous anesthetic. No matter what kind of extraction you are having, you should not feel any pain while the procedure is being done. If you do feel pain, let your dentist know right away.

Things to Do After Your Tooth Extraction Procedure

When your extraction procedure has been completed, your dentist in Woodbridge will place gauze on the tooth socket. You will then bite down on the gauze to lessen bleeding. Self-dissolving stitches may be used to close your extraction site.

The following post-extraction guidelines will need to be followed when you get home:

  • Rest for at least 24 hours.
  • Continue to bite down on the gauze for three hours. This lessens bleeding and allows a blood clot to form at the extraction site. Replace the gauze when necessary.
  • Apply ice right after your procedure and continue applying it every 10 minutes.
  • Avoid lying down flat. Prop up your head with pillows to lessen bleeding.
  • Refrain from rinsing, spitting forcibly or using a straw for 24 hours.
  • 24 hours after your procedure, rinse out your mouth with a solution made up of ½ teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Eat soft foods like applesauce, yogurt and soup. Once the site has begun healing, you can add solid foods to your diet.
  • Avoid brushing and flossing around the extraction site.
  • Follow your dentist’s advice when taking painkillers.

It’s perfectly normal to have a bit of pain, swelling and bleeding after your extraction procedure. Contact your dentist in Woodbridge if you experience any of the below issues afterwards:

  • Redness, swelling or excessive discharge at the extraction site
  • Severe pain, swelling or bleeding after four hours have passed
  • Fever, chills or other symptoms of infection
  • Coughing, shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Nausea or vomiting

You should contact your dentist in Woodbridge immediately if you experience uncontrolled bleeding, excessive pain, intense swelling, chills, fever, redness or have difficulty swallowing.

Until your mouth has fully healed, you will want to follow the advice given by your dentist or you risk delaying your recovery.

In most cases, an extraction site will be fully healed within one to two weeks. You will be able to resume your regular dental care routine once this has occurred.

Understanding Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that emerge along the top and bottom gum lines in the back of the mouth during adulthood. Extraction of the wisdom teeth has become a fairly common preventive procedure, but not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. There are a variety of factors that need to be considered before you undergo this procedure. These factors are risks, benefits and the impact on your quality of life. Your dentist in Woodbridge can assist you in making the decision.

There are a lot of people who have their wisdom teeth grow in and don’t have any issues with them at all. The wisdom teeth can remain in these cases. Other people never have their wisdom teeth grow in. However, there are some people who don’t have enough room in their mouths for their wisdom teeth. This results in the teeth growing in crooked or becoming impacted underneath the gum line. These cases generally require the teeth to be extracted.

Some dentists recommend that the wisdom teeth be extracted even if they aren’t causing any pain or issues. These dentists believe that removing the wisdom teeth will prevent issues from happening in the future. Speak to your dentist and seek out a second opinion when it comes to deciding if you need to have this procedure performed on you. Obtaining advice from a trusted professional dentist in Woodbridge is always recommended.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it’s necessary to receive wisdom tooth extractions in the following cases:

  • Infection
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Tumor or cyst development
  • Tooth decay
  • Damage to nearby teeth
  • Development of gum disease

Even though you may not be having any discomfort, your dentist may still decide that your wisdom teeth need to be extracted due to preventive measures. Preventive tooth extractions are usually done in the below instances: 

  • Potential for disease: Wisdom teeth can lead to infections developing, even if you have no other symptoms.
  • Safety: Impacted wisdom teeth are frequently removed to avoid future issues from occurring.
  • Age: Removing the wisdom teeth of a younger person reduces the chances of complications occurring before, during or after the procedure.

There are dentists who don’t believe that there is enough evidence to prove that asymptomatic wisdom teeth can lead to issues later in life. These dentists don’t believe that it is worth the risk of having the procedure done. Speak to your dentist in Woodbridge to find out if this is a procedure you should have done or if there are other options for you.

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