What To Expect When You Have A Tooth Pulled

The idea of having a tooth pulled makes many people queasy and anxious. But when your tooth is in poor shape and your dentist recommends having it pulled, that's usually the best route to take. Otherwise, you'll probably be dealing with years of pain and difficulty chewing as the tooth continues to decay. Knowing what to expect during the dental extraction will help ease your worries considerably.

When you arrive...

When you first arrive to your dentist's office, he or she will sit you down in the treatment chair and begin preparing you for the procedure. Your dentist will apply a numbing gel to your gums and will then inject a local anesthetic. This anesthetic will numb the area around the tooth to be removed, but it won't make you unconscious.

If you are very nervous about the procedure, your dentist may give you laughing gas. You'll inhale the mild sedative gas though a little mask that fits over your nose. It will make you feel relaxed, giddy, and worry-free, but it should not put you completely to sleep.

Once the anesthesia has set in...

Once you are numb and possibly sedated, your dentist may place a few absorbent pads in your mouth. These will keep blood from going down your throat after your tooth is extracted. They'll also absorb saliva to make it easier for your dentist to grasp the tooth.

Your dentist will grip your tooth with a tool that resembles pliers. He or she will then wiggle the tooth around in its socket to loosen it. Then, they'll use the same pliers device or a similar one to pull the tooth out of its socket. A scalpel may then be used to trim some of the gum tissue around the extraction site. A few stitches may be inserted to close the gums. These are usually dissolvable stitches so you won't need to have them removed.

Before you go home...

Once the extraction is complete, your dentist will have you bite down on a piece of gauze to absorb the blood. You may be given a few extra pieces of gauze so you can change them as they become saturated. The anesthesia should remain active for a few hours, but your dentist will recommend a pain reliever for you to take to help stave off the pain in the days following the extraction. You'll also be given a list of foods to avoid. In general, you'll need to avoid crunchy and chewy foods for a few days until the site heals.

If you have other questions about your extraction procedure and what it may entail, speak with your dentist.