A tooth extraction sounds scary, but you shouldn’t be afraid – they are actually very common. In fact, by age 50, the average American has lost 12 teeth (including wisdom teeth), and nearly a quarter of Americans over 65 have lost all their permanent teeth. So the idea of losing a tooth sounds scary, but most people will face this at some point in their life. Luckily there are plenty of options to replace the look and function of your teeth once they are extracted, so there is no reason to worry!
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Reasons for a tooth Extraction
The most common reasons for extracting a tooth are decay, gum disease, tooth infection (abscess) or risk of infection. We often suggest exploring any options to save a tooth before tooth extractions, but it’s not always possible or practical. Tooth extractions can vary in complexity.
To determine what type of extraction is needed, if any, you will need to visit a dentist and have an exam.
Anesthetics & Sedation
To make sure your extraction goes as smoothly, the doctor will provide local anesthetics to numb the area around the extraction site. These anesthetics work by stopping the nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. Application of the anesthetic is often the only painful part of the procedure, but the numbing agent acts quickly, so the pain should only last momentarily. The numbness will last a short time, typically 60-90 minutes, but you may feel residual effect throughout the day.
Some people may choose to be sedated for their extraction. This is common for people who experience dental anxiety, or would just prefer not remember the procedure. There are two types of sedation widely available for dentistry – oral sedation and IV (intravenous) sedation.
Oral sedation, also known as conscious sedation, is achieved by taking orally ingested medication. The sedation takes effect quickly, and lasts for a short period of time. This is typically regarded as the safer than IV sedation.
With IV (intravenous) sedation, sedative is injected into your arm, typically by an anesthesiologist. It is usually more expensive, and does have some risks associated with the procedure. IV sedation is more common for oral surgeons/specialists performing a large amount of dental work at the same time.
Both forms of sedation require that you have someone to accompany you to the procedure, and drive you home.
How Much Does a Tooth Extraction Cost?
Because there are many variables to take into consideration, it’s not a simple answer. The cost of an extraction can depend on whether it is a simple or surgical extraction, what type of tooth needs to be extracted. For example, molars typically have more roots than your incisors and canines, and some teeth have curved roots that can complicate the procedure. The condition of the tooth and gums can also affect the cost.
In short, the only way to tell how much an extraction will cost will be to have a dental exam. After the exam you will be presented with a treatment plan with pricing to help you make an informed decision.
Dos and Dont’s of a Tooth Extraction
Do tell your doctor of any illnesses, health conditions, or upcoming medical procedures.
Do tell your doctor if you’re taking prescription or OTC drugs.
Do ask any questions you may have about the treatment or recovery.
Do plan for at least 24 hours of recovery.
Do arrange for a driver to take you home if you are receiving sedation.
Do eat soft foods such as soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes, jello during recovery.
Do continue to brush and floss, but be careful around the extraction site.
Do elevate your head when you sleep.
Do feel free to contact the dentist with any questions about your treatment or recovery.
Don’t smoke the day of the extraction, or during your recovery.
Don’t drink from a straw for at least 3 days.
Don’t vigorously swish or spit for at least 24 hours, as this can dislodge a blood clot.
Don’t exceed the recommended dose of any medication.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Wisdom teeth can cause quite a few issues. Whether they crowd or push existing teeth, decay from not being able to brush them properly, or they just come in sideways, they can be a real pain – both literally and figuratively. Oftentimes the best option for dealing with them, is to just get rid of them. They are often the first permanent teeth a person will ever have extracted, and it can be an intimidating prospect. But like other extractions, they are nothing to fear.
Tooth replacement options
When you lose a tooth, it can cause problems with your other teeth, diet, speech, and self-confidence. There are several options to consider for both functional and aesthetic replacements:
Partial Dentures & Bridges – By using your existing teeth to attach a partial denture, you can get a functional and affordable way to replace your extracted tooth or teeth.
Dentures – Dentures have been around for a long time. Though aesthetically nice looking, and relatively affordable, they do have limitations which can lead to lifestyle and dietary changes.
Dental Implants – The most expensive, but often the best option.
Multiple options – By using several of the options above, you can balance function and cost with a personalized solution that makes sense for you.
Discuss with your dentist what option would be best for your situation.
How Do I Know If I Need a Tooth Extraction?
After a dentist performs an exam and x-ray they will let you know if a tooth extraction may be necessary.
How Much Does a Tooth Extraction Cost?
Cost of a tooth extraction depends on many variables, so cost can only be determined by a dental exam.
Can I get an Extraction Without an Exam?
No responsible dentist would extract teeth without an exam and x-ray. An exam and x-ray can help determine how the dentist approaches the extraction, and can prevent complications.
How Long Does a Tooth Extraction Take?
The whole process usually takes no more than 40 minutes. If you are having multiple teeth extracted, this may take longer.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Tooth Extraction?
Everyone is different, but most people heal in 1-2 weeks. Wisdom teeth and other surgical extractions may take a little longer for a full recovery.
How Long Until I Can Smoke?
You should wait at least three full days after the extraction before smoking. Smoking after an extraction can cause a very painful dry socket (loss of blood clot) and extend your recovery period.