If you have a problem with a tooth and the dentist can’t help you by filling a cavity, doing a root canal, or placing a crown over the tooth, there is only one thing left to do: pull the tooth out. It is much easier to do this today than ever before. Most patients report little or no pain and only minor bleeding. The dentist will numb the area with an anesthetic; that anesthetic might be topical, or it might be injected. (Many dentists inject Novocaine.) After the tooth has been pulled, the dentist might prescribe an antibiotic if it seems wise to do so. Follow-up care includes being more gentle with the mouth than usual; no smoking, no vigorous rinsing or brushing, and no straws until the wound has had a chance to heal. Many people use a cold compress to bring down the swelling and promote faster healing.
You probably know about wisdom teeth. These are molars at the back of your upper and lower jaw and are often the last adult teeth to erupt. For many people, wisdom teeth create problems because they can make your mouth too crowded, are often prone to impacting the other teeth, and can throw off your bite. They can cause your face or your gums to swell, they can cause infection, and they may hurt. You don’t need these teeth to bite, speak, or eat, so often the best solution is just to pull them out. Because they can be more difficult to remove than other teeth, sometimes wisdom teeth are removed by an oral surgeon.