You may dread the thought of heading to your dentist’s office for a tooth extraction, but there are some myths around the procedure that may be increasing the fear factor. Today, our Okotoks dentists clear up some of these misconceptions.
Why would I need a tooth extraction?
During a tooth extraction, we surgically remove a tooth that has become problematic. It may be damaged, crowding the other teeth in your mouth or coming in in an improper position. This can cause pain and discomfort, leaving extraction as your best bet.
The procedure is sometimes known as “pulling teeth”. There’s no reason to fear a tooth extraction.
What are some myths about having a tooth pulled?
Here are some myths about the procedure that we often hear from concerned patients:
1. Having a tooth pulled is painful.
One of the most pervasive misconceptions around tooth extraction is that you’ll feel pain during the procedure. However, this is no longer true as anesthesia, modern technology and best-in-practice dental techniques are used to minimize pain.
2. Tooth extraction is a go-to dental procedure.
This is also untrue. At Foothills Orthodontics, we try to avoid extracting teeth in favour of preventive, more non-invasive treatment methods, since extraction can sometimes result in dental issues (such as misalignment) or needing more treatments such as tooth replacements in the future.
Unless the tooth is severely infected, damaged, fractured or decayed beyond repair, alternatives such as a root canal are often recommended.
However, sometimes a tooth extraction is unavoidable. A couple of ways to reduce your chances of needing a tooth extraction is to practice excellent oral hygiene and to wear a mouthguard during high-impact sports and physical activities.
3. It will take a long time to recover.
Though you may envision needing to cancel commitments and move your schedule around for some time, this isn’t the case. In most cases, you should recover from the surgery within 3 to 4 days and be able to return to work or school.
However, some patients take up to a week to recover if the extraction was complex. Though complete healing of the tooth socket may take 2 to 4 weeks, your mouth should be functional again within those few days. To speed recovery, stick to a diet of soft foods and avoid smoking, or performing strenuous physical activity which can dislodge the blood clot.
Ask your dentist about other after-care instructions that help to promote healing, reduce pain and prevent the tooth socket from becoming infected.
4. Everyone needs their wisdom teeth pulled.
Though you may hear a lot about people between the ages of 17 and 25 needing their wisdom teeth extracted, there are instances where our dentists will not recommend the procedure. In some cases, your wisdom teeth may emerge without causing potential harm, pain or damage to the rest of your teeth.
To find out whether you need your wisdom teeth removed, schedule an appointment with our Okotoks dentists.