What Questions Should I Ask My Dentist Before My Tooth Extraction?

Getting a tooth or teeth pulled is not a pleasant experience and often times, patients will go to their dentist without having the proper questions to ask. The lack of information can make a world of difference in the outcome or your dental treatment. The more you know, the better your treatment experience will turn out.

In this blog post, we will discuss what questions to ask your dentist before you have a tooth (or teeth) removed so that you are fully aware of what to expect and what your options should be.

Ask Your Dentist:

How will my site be treated after the tooth/teeth have been removed?

Your extraction site is an open wound and just like the rest of medicine, all wounds need to be dressed. For example, when a patient is rushed to the hospital with open wound, the first thing the attending nurse or doctor does is clean the area and treat it by applying some form of medication and then enclose it to protect it from the environment, preventing further injury or infection. The same thing goes for leaving an open wound inside your mouth.

Leaving an extracted site to heal on its own can cause an array of problems. Not only do you want to protect the wound, but you also want to preserve the bone that once held your tooth in place to reduce future complications.

Ask Your Dentist:

What are my bone graft options?

A dental bone graft is a material that is placed into your extraction site to promote bone growth and retain proper facial shape. There are several types of bone grafts available in today’s market and again, the more you know about them, the more confident and informed you will be when you choose the type of bone graft that will be placed into your body. Notice how I said YOU choose—not your dentist, but YOU.

Cadaver
Ground up human bone that undergoes a treatment process of freeze drying then gamma sterilization. This type of graft—an allograft—is typically acquired through a bone bank.

Autografts
This is the process of removing a piece of bone from another part of your jaw or body and surgically transplanting it into the extracted site. This procedure warrants a secondary surgery, which often times patients refuse, is not needed, and is rarely done for tooth extraction.

Xenografts
Ground up animal bone, usually pig or cow (sometimes even horse), that undergoes a treatment process of various degrees of temperature. Patients sometimes refuse this material due to cultural, religious, or ethical objections.

Synthetic Bone Grafts
These are commonly referred to as science-based bone grafts because they are manufactured in a laboratory and cleared by the FDA as safe and effective. Unlike allografts and xenografts, synthetic bone grafts do not produce sclerotic bone and have been proven to have higher patient acceptance rate.

In our opinion, allografts and xenografts should not be used to support an implant due to the type of bone it produces. Also, allografts and xenografts are never resorbed and stay in your body forever.

Ask Your Dentist:

What are my options for replacing my tooth/teeth?

Your dentist should offer you several options:

Dental implants are the best choice to replace missing teeth and as long as you choose the right bone graft, your implant can last a lifetime. Bone grafts that produce sclerotic bone will shorten the longevity of your implant.

Bridges: There are three main types of dental bridges:

    • Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (replacement tooth) in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
    • Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not very common anymore and is not recommended in the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth and damage them.
    • Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.

Partial denture may have a metal framework and clasps that connect to your teeth, or they can have other connectors that are more natural looking. In some cases, a removable partial denture is made to attach to your natural teeth with devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments are generally more esthetic than clasps.

Dental flipper is a removable partial denture that dentists or oral surgeons may use as a temporary replacement if you have one or more missing teeth. Dental flippers are made from denture acrylic that resembles your gums, and it supports the replacement tooth. Patients often times dislike this option due to the discomfort these appliances can create.

Ask Your Dentist:

Will I be given before-and-after care instructions or medication warnings?

You should always be informed about what your procedure will entail and be given pre- and post-instructions of your dental treatment ahead of time. You should also determine if someone will be driving you to and from the dental office the day of treatment, especially if you choose to have some sort of sedation dentistry. Your dentist is responsible for giving you all your options, but ultimately, you are the one to make the final decision on the type of treatment you receive.

TIP:

It is always good to purchase all your items or get your medications beforehand, so you are not without pain meds on the day of surgery. This way, you don’t have to wait in line at the pharmacy as the anesthesia begins to wear out before your pain meds kick in!

Get Informed.

Becoming health-literate means being empowered.