Having an extraction can be intimidating, but in most instances, the process may not cause significant pain. Avoiding dental infections and following your aftercare instructions carefully can keep pain to minimum.
Many problems with pain can arise from waiting to have a tooth repaired or extracted. Once an infection occurs, your dentist may need to prescribe antibiotics before you can have the tooth extracted. In some cases, an infection may not be obvious. When there is an active infection, it may prevent the anesthetic injection from working properly, causing your extraction to be unnecessarily painful. Having problems, such as cavities, repaired promptly can prevent the affected tooth from becoming infected. If the tooth with cavities is a wisdom tooth, it is typically better to have them extracted in the beginning, since they are rarely worth salvaging and are difficult to keep clean.
Follow Post-Extraction Care
Your dentist will give you a list of post-extraction instructions. It is imperative to follow them closely. One suggestion is how to use temperature after the extraction to reduce pain and swelling. During the first 24 hours after your extraction, you will want to apply ice to your cheek. After this period, use moist heat only. The easiest way to apply moist heat is to fill-up an old soda or juice bottle with hot tap water and apply it to your cheek. Another option is to soak a washcloth in hot water and use it as a warm compress. If you do not follow these suggestions, you may have more swelling, which can compress facial nerves leading to additional pain.
Avoid Dry Socket
Dry socket occurs when the blood clot does not form in the socket after an extraction or it is dislodged. The most common reason this occurs is because of smoking or using a straw shortly after an extraction. Your dentist will tell you to avoid any activity that might prevent the blood clot from forming for 24 hours after the extraction. Some people are simply more likely to develop dry socket despite their best efforts. Typically, the pain associated with dry socket develops days after an extraction. It is especially painful because the bone is exposed. If you notice any unusual or worsening pain, speak with your dentist. Clove oil is frequently used in the socket to soothe dry socket pain.
You may be apprehensive about extraction-related pain, but in most instances, extractions are nothing to be concerned about. Tooth extractions that are relatively simple and without an active infection can be easily manged without pain medication or the occasional use of OTC medicines.