Tooth extractions are routine dental treatments that help prevent more serious dental problems from arising. An extraction is a preventative treatment, and can be your secret to a long lasting smile..
The most common tooth extractions are wisdom tooth extractions. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to grow, appearing as late as your early twenties, according to Colgate Oral Care Center. The challenge with wisdom teeth is there can be complications. Either they don’t fully come in, and part of the tooth remains below the gums, or they can grow in misaligned. Sometimes, there isn’t enough room in your mouth for the new wisdom teeth, which can cause your healthy teeth to shift. Whenever this is the case, your dentist may recommend having wisdom teeth removed. This is true even if you aren’t having problems with your wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth aren’t the only candidates for extraction. A broken tooth, significant tooth decay that cannot be treated by a root canal, and patients with advanced gum disease may be considered for tooth extractions as well.
Keep in mind, your dentist wants to save your natural teeth, and help you keep them healthy. But there are times when removing a potentially harmful tooth can spare you time, money and discomfort.
Preparing for Extractions: Tooth Extraction Cost
The cost of dental care is an important point to consider for most dental patients. Dental treatment can start with a free initial visit and easily creep into the thousands of dollars. It’s important to discuss with your dentists what the tooth extraction cost will be.
As a general rule, the more difficult a tooth is to remove, the more it costs. So, having an impacted wisdom tooth removed will cost more than the extraction for a loose and severely decayed tooth.
If you have dental insurance, find out if tooth extraction costs are covered. Otherwise, you should ask if the dentist office provides a dental payment plan to help make the tooth extraction cost more manageable.
Preparing for Extractions: What to Expect During the Tooth Extraction
Tooth extractions are generally straightforward oral surgery procedures. This is true even for more complex tooth extractions like impacted wisdom teeth. You may still experience anxiety about your extraction.
For most people, the concern over having a tooth removed is not just tooth extraction cost, but how to manage the pain after a tooth is removed. After all, a tooth extraction is still dental surgery. One way to minimize the anxiety that arises when you don’t know what to expect is to talk with your dentist to find out what’s involved in the surgery as well as what you can expect during the healing period.
Most tooth extractions happen quickly. They take only a few minutes. In fact, you will spend most of your time in the dentist chair waiting for the local anesthesia you receive for pain management to completely numb the tooth, jawbone and surrounding gums.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will begin by rocking the tooth back and forth, and then rotating it to widen the socket for easier extraction. Don’t worry. By this point, the local anesthesia will have done its job and your pain receptors will be completely numb. Instead of pain, you may feel a bit of pressure, but you shouldn’t feel any pain from the tooth extraction.
Once the tooth is fully detached, your dentist will remove it, and cover the exposed gum with a small piece of gauze.
Preparing for Extractions: Tooth Extraction Pain and After Care
Immediately following the extraction, your dentists will advise you to bite gently on the piece of gauze for 30 minutes to an hour after the extraction. Additional after care instructions for tooth extractions may include:
- Applying ice to the jaw area if you experience swelling
- Continuing to brush, but avoiding the area surrounding the extraction
- Gently rinsing your mouth with water
- Avoiding spitting for at least 24 hours after extraction
- Taking an antibiotic or pain reliever, if needed
- Avoiding smoking or using a straw for at least 24 hours
Your dentist may also recommend a modified diet for the first few days after surgery. As well, you should cut back on strenuous activity, which can include doing a less intensive workout at the gym. With proper dental care, your mouth should start to feel normal again in 1-2 weeks.
One potential complication of a wisdom tooth extraction (or any type of extraction) is dry socket. If you start to experience a dull, throbbing pain in the extraction site 3-4 days following the extraction, contact your dentist immediately.
Your dentist will always tell you if he or she foresees a problem with one or more of your teeth.