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What To Expect If You Need A Tooth Removed

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If you have a bad tooth, your dentist might suggest removing it. In some cases, the dentist might do a root canal and put on a crown, but sometimes tooth removal is best, especially if you can't afford more expensive dental work at the time and you don't have dental insurance. Here are reasons you may need tooth removal and an overview of how it's done.

Why A Tooth Needs To Be Removed 

A tooth that's abscessed needs some sort of help. An abscessed tooth is often very painful, and the infection could possibly spread to other parts of your body, so clearing the infection quickly is important. One treatment for an abscessed tooth is pulling the bad tooth.

You might only need one tooth removed, but you could need more. For instance, if your wisdom teeth don't have enough room to come in, your dentist may recommend removing all of them. You may even need all of your remaining teeth pulled so you can get dentures. It might even be necessary to pull a tooth that has a bad crack or was otherwise damaged.

How Tooth Removal Is Done

Your tooth will be numbed during the process, so having a tooth pulled isn't painful. However, you'll probably feel tugging as the dentist works on your tooth. The dentist might use an instrument that loosens and lifts your tooth first, and then they can grasp your tooth with a dental tool and pull and wiggle it out.

The process is fairly quick when you just need one tooth pulled. If you need multiple teeth pulled during the same visit, your dentist might give you IV sedation so you are more comfortable during your long session. If a tooth is impacted, you might need oral surgery to remove it. In that case, the dentist will need to make an incision in your gum to get to the tooth.

If you have a tooth infection, your dentist may put you on antibiotics before your tooth is pulled to clear up the infection first. After your tooth is pulled, the dentist will probably put gauze in the hole and send you home with pain relievers to take for a few days.

What Recovery Is Like

One of the most important parts of recovering from tooth removal is to keep from dislodging the blood clot that forms afterward. Your dentist will provide instructions that help prevent this such as not smoking and not drinking through a straw. You might have some pain for a couple of days after your tooth is pulled, but the pain clears up fairly fast and you can control it with medication from your dentist or over-the-counter pain relievers.

You'll probably need to eat a soft food diet for a few days and avoid strenuous activity. Your dentist might have you resume oral care the following day, but you may need to leave your socket alone for a few days. Try not to bother it with your tongue or brush the area until your dentist says it's okay.