For many individuals, the fear of visiting a dentist is not sparked by routine cleanings. It is the anxiety that is built up around being told that you have an underlying dental issue that needs dealt with immediately. Everyone dreads hearing the words “cavity” or “root canal,” for example, when undergoing a routine check-up.

Beyond those minor issues, there is one procedure that becomes more common as patients age. This procedure is only used in dire situations when all other means of fixing an issue have been attempted, or the condition is so serious that it requires a more drastic solution. A tooth extraction is not a procedure that most people need to anticipate worrying about when visiting their dentist, but, for our elderly patients, it is one of our most common procedures.

If you have ever been curious as to what a tooth extraction is, or want to be prepared in the event you or someone you know is ever required to undergo this procedure, here are the ins and outs of tooth extractions:

When are tooth extractions necessary?

No one wants to think about having one of their teeth pulled. It is impossible to envision that process without cringing. Dentists do not take this procedure lightly and would only call for an extraction if it were absolutely necessary. These are cases where the infection in the tooth becomes severe and unmanageable, or when there is potential that the infection could spread to other areas of the body and cause more detrimental health complications.

What does a typical tooth extraction look like?

Don’t let your mind wander when thinking upon this question. What you are imagining is most likely much worse than what the procedure actually entails. The surrounding area will be properly numbed before the tooth is even touched by your dentist. Once the area is numb, your dentist will make an incision around the infected area, which will allow them access to accurately remove the entire tooth. To stop the bleeding, the patient will bite down on gauze after the procedure is over. If necessary, your dentist may add stitches just to ensure it heals properly.

What does recovery from a tooth extraction entail?

The recovery period is not tedious, as long as the patient follows the care techniques recommended by the dentist. Recovery involves getting an adequate amount of rest, only consuming soft foods, periodically putting ice near the swollen area, and combating pain with over-the-counter medications that are approved by your dentist. Frequent follow-up visits with your dentist will allow you to know when the area is fully healed.

If your elderly parent has been experiencing tooth pain, don’t put off contacting a dentist. Onsite Dentists Of Texas works specifically with individuals in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities, so we can bring our services, like providing tooth extractions, directly to them!