Do you have halitosis and feel frustrated that nothing you try improves the smell of your breath? Do you have chronic pain along your gum line or teeth that seem to ache all of the time? If so, you may need to remove a tooth to improve your quality of life and health. Today, our dental experts at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL are looking at signs a tooth extraction is appropriate, preparation steps to take beforehand, and more.
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Remove a Tooth?
If you want to know for sure whether tooth extraction is appropriate for you, an appointment with a dentist is necessary. However, there are signs that you may be a good tooth extraction candidate. For instance, you should schedule an evaluation with a dentist and find out if you could benefit from getting your tooth pulled if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Chronic bad breath
- Misplaced teeth
- Periodontal disease
- Extreme pain
Chronic Bad Breath
One of the most compelling signs that it may be time to remove a tooth is chronic bad breath. This phenomenon can be explained by an overgrowth of bacteria, and bacteria in your mouth can lead to such problems as gum disease. In turn, gum disease can necessitate tooth extraction. It is particularly important to have a tooth removed if it is at risk of becoming infected and your immune system is compromised due to the side effects of chemotherapy.
A tooth extraction may also be necessary if you have misplaced teeth. One of the most common types of misplaced teeth is impaction. An impacted tooth is a tooth that grew incorrectly or shifted and no longer functions usefully. Another very common type of misplaced teeth is overcrowding. If you have crowded teeth, your teeth do not fit together like they should because there isn’t enough space in your mouth for all of them in their configuration.
If you have an infection in your mouth, there is an excellent chance that you will be considered a good tooth extraction candidate. The longer there is an untreated mouth infection, the more likely it is that extensive gum and tooth damage will occur. If you don’t get on a course of effective antibiotics very quickly, it may become necessary for multiple teeth to be removed. Typically, infections are caused by tooth decay growing into the pulp of one or more teeth.
Gum disease is another sign that it is time for a dentist to remove a tooth. It is particularly important that you have your tooth removed if you suffer from periodontal disease and your tooth is loose and unsupported or abscessed and infected. Sometimes, periodontal disease can even cause an infection that spreads to local bones, teeth, and soft tissues.
Do you feel like your mouth is always in pain or discomfort? Have you tried Orajel, sucking on ice, and NSAIDs without relief? If so, a tooth extraction may be right for you.
If your tooth hurts even when you don’t consume very cold or very hot foods and beverages and you don’t have any cavities, your tooth could hurt due to an infection or damage from an injury. If your tooth is injured or severely infected, taking it out may be the ideal pain treatment method for you. It may even be the only effective pain relief method.
How Do You Prepare for a Tooth Extraction?
Before you get your tooth removed, you need to sit down with your dentist and discuss your complete medical history. You will be asked a number of questions, including:
- Do you have liver disease?
- Is your immune system impaired?
- Have you had bacterial endocarditis?
- Have you had an artificial joint replacement?
- Have any of your heart valves been replaced?
- Do you have a congenital heart defect?
You also need to advise us on whether you are taking blood thinners or other drugs and supplements. Taking certain pharmaceuticals prior to treatment may increase the length of time it takes your mouth to heal after your extraction. During your initial evaluation, we will determine the ideal combination of anesthesia and sedation for your unique situation based on your health and the scope of your needs. You may need to fast before your extraction for several hours.
Call Your Insurance Provider
It may behoove you to call your dental or medical health insurance provider to verify that your extraction will be covered prior to your appointment. Which insurance provider will cover your extraction depends on whether your tooth is being removed as a preventive measure or because you are already facing medical problems.
It is also important that you do not smoke during the 12 hours leading up to your tooth extraction. You should also be prepared to go 24 hours after your extraction without smoking. If you consume nicotine shortly before or after treatment, your recovery will take longer than it should. Furthermore, nicotine consumption can lead to a serious medical condition referred to as “dry socket.”
Arrange a Ride
Even if you only get local anesthesia, your reflexes may be impaired after your tooth extraction. Therefore, it will not be safe for you to drive yourself home. Make sure you arrange for transportation to and from our conveniently located office.
It is also a good idea to ask a loved one to stay with you for the first 24 hours after your tooth extraction to ensure you and your home are taken care of. You may not have the energy to do the things you usually do, like feed your dog and wash your dishes.
Do not come into your tooth extraction appointment wearing contacts, jewelry, or dark lipstick. Make sure your hair is kept out of your face and wear loose, comfy clothes.
How Should You Care for Your Mouth After a Tooth Extraction?
There are a number of steps you will need to take to care of yourself once your tooth is removed. For instance, you will need to spend the first 24 hours following your tooth removal minimizing physical exertion and keeping your head elevated above your heart. It is also very important that you keep pressure on your wound by biting on your gauze for at least an hour after your tooth removal. Your gauze should be replaced every 30 minutes or so after you wash your hands thoroughly.
Another vital post-extraction step you must take is to not smoke for at least 48 hours. Moreover, you may benefit significantly by applying an ice pack to your face for 15-minute increments with 15-minute breaks between applications. It is also very important that you rinse your mouth with warm, salty water to keep the extraction area clean. You will not be able to floss or brush your teeth after your extraction. Ideally, you should start to rinse your mouth 12 hours post-extraction.
Take Prescribed Medicine
Another important post-extraction care step you must take is to take all of your medicine as prescribed. For example, you will need to take a full course of antibiotics even if you don’t currently have an infection. It is also important to note that you should only take the analgesics you are prescribed. If you take an over-the-counter medication, like aspirin, that thins the blood, your blood may take longer to clot. This will result in a longer recovery time.
Eat Soft Foods
It is a good idea to consume milkshakes, smoothies, protein shakes, applesauce, and drinkable yogurt during the first few days of your recovery. Just keep in mind that smoothies and shakes should be consumed with a spoon or sipped out of a glass. You will not be able to drink through a straw. Eventually, you will be able to consume hot foods, like soup and mashed potatoes. However, you may want to let the food cool off a bit even if you normally wouldn’t.
Schedule Your Consultation Now
The only way to determine definitively whether you need to remove a tooth is to attend an appointment with a dentist. If you are experiencing halitosis, gum pain, or tooth pain, there is a good chance that a tooth extraction could benefit you. Schedule an appointment with us today at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL to find out whether now is the appropriate time for you to get a tooth extraction.