So, you’ve been recommended for a tooth extraction…

Stop running and read this! 

Do not panic! Tooth extractions are very common procedures. It is estimated that over 20 million teeth are extracted per year in the United States alone. It is a routine procedure that dentists and oral surgeons are very practiced at performing. 

Myth One: Teeth Extractions are Painful!

If you find yourself sweating at the thought of having your tooth extracted, you are not alone. Many feel the same way and avoid necessary procedures out of fear that they are signing up for a slasher movie. In reality, tooth extractions are not a painful experience and are easy to recover from.

Here’s what to expect: A dentist or oral surgeon will utilize a numbing agent, such as a local anesthetic, to numb the teeth and gums to minimize discomfort. After the site has been numbed, the doctor will loosen the tooth before using forceps to remove it. During this process, it is common to feel pressure, but the pressure is temporary. 

Myth Two: I’m different. I don’t need to have my teeth extracted! 

 You do. If your dentist or orthodontist recommends a tooth extraction, please heed their advice. The most common reasons people require tooth extractions are: impaction (when one tooth pushes against another), decay (when tartar and plaque build up), gum disease, physical trauma, and overcrowding. If you do not extract the offending tooth in a timely manner, infection can spread and worsen, causing you to experience a host of other negative symptoms. 

 Skilled orthodontists such as ours will also determine if extractions will result in a more pleasing soft tissue profile. Sometimes, fitting in all the teeth will cause protrusion or even gum recession. Thus, extractions can be extremely beneficial. 

Myth Three: Recovery from a tooth extraction is a long and painful process

 In the 24 hours following a tooth extraction, it is common for light bleeding to occur. It is common to use gauze in the hours after an extraction. Gauze encourages blood clotting, which is a natural and positive part of the recovery process! You may be prescribed antibiotics to deal with any discomfort and can also use ice. You can expect to engage in normal activities within 48-72 hours of your tooth extraction, so it is a far cry from a difficult process.

The recovery time for commonly recommended extractions such as premolars is very minimal. We like to compare premolars to carrots in the dirt versus wisdom teeth, which have roots more similar to a tree trunk in the dirt. 

In the end, we are in the dental field and love teeth! We don’t want to recommend extractions either unless absolutely necessary. Extractions are avoided when possible, but sometimes pulling out teeth is the most assured way for the best results.