Having a tooth removed can be an easy process or can involve a surgical procedure. Your dentist will issue instructions to follow upon completion, but generally even a simple tooth extraction warrants going home and relaxing for the balance of the day.
Following the extraction you will likely have a wad of gauze where the tooth was removed. This is there to stem blood flow and help the area to clot. Replace if it becomes soaked. If the tooth was already loose, extraction may have been very simple; however, if your dentist had to elevate the tooth for removal or the tooth had broken you may experience some discomfort and you will want to go home.
With the majority of simple tooth extractions the patient receives some type of anesthetic … the jaw is numbed for the extraction. During tooth removal the patient feels pressure; however, when the anesthetic wears off depending on the severity of the extraction there may be discomfort. In most cases an over the counter analgesic is sufficient for relief.
In the case of surgical extractions like for impacted or wisdom teeth, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon. They are equipped to offer you the appropriate anesthetic for your needs. If the patient requires a general anesthetic or uses oral sedation, they will need transportation home. The only anesthetic where the patient can transport themselves is with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) which wears off quickly or a numbing agent like lidocaine.
Post-operative instructions usually include:
- Rest to stop the bleeding; keep your head elevated. Take pain medication as prescribed and needed.
- Do not smoke or use any type of tobacco.
- Do not drink using a straw. Any type of sucking action can remove the clot that has formed where the tooth was extracted. The result can lead to a dry socket … if the clot becomes dislodged for any reason, the patient will experience pain. A return to the dentist is often required.
- Eat soft foods like pudding, applesauce, scrambled eggs, yogurt, or ice cream … you can resume eating normally in a few days.
- Do not brush the surgical area until healed; brush surrounding teeth carefully.
Let your dental professional be your guide on when it is best to return to work or school. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation!