There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may schedule another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth, especially a front tooth replacement.
Now that you know a little about what to expect, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Do not eat or drink anything (including water) for eight hours prior to your appointment. If you take medications, you should take them with a small sip of water no later than three hours prior to your appointment.
- A responsible adult must accompany you to the office, remain in the office during the procedure, and drive you home.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up past the elbow.
- Remove contact lenses, dental prosthetics (dentures), and jewelry.
- Do not wear lipstick, excessive makeup, or nail polish on the day of surgery.
- Fill any prescription pain medications and antibiotics before the day of your surgery.
- If you have an illness such as a cold, sore throat, or stomach or bowel upset, please notify the office.
- Never drive an automobile or operate dangerous machinery on the same day as your surgery or procedure.
- Avoid any heavy lifting and strenuous physical activity for several days after your surgery.
- Drink plenty of fluids, but do not suck on a straw, because this can dislodge a clot and lead to bleeding.
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