I’ve heard awful stories about a dentist putting their knee of someone’s chest to pull a tooth. What should I expect if I’m going to have a tooth removed?
First of all, I’ve heard the ‘knee on the chest’ story a countless number of times, and I truly believe that it’s an exaggeration similar to the story of ‘the fish that got away’. The fish was originally about 6 inches long, but after years of retelling the story, that fish grows to about 6 feet. How having said this, I’ve removed a lot of teeth, some very simple, some very difficult, and never at any point has the thought even remotely crossed my mind that if I could just manage to get my knee up on the patient’s chest that somehow the tooth would miraculously jump out of the patient’s jaw.
So with all that said, what exactly should you expect? First of all, and I cannot stress this enough, you should not feel pain. Keep in mind that everybody is slightly different, and some people need a little extra anesthetic to get a tooth good and numb, so if at any point you feel something painful, make sure to speak up right away. Keep in mind, teeth that are infected can be very difficult to get numb, so this is why your dentist/oral surgeon may want you to be on an antibiotic first before removing your tooth in certain situations. Now while you should not feel any pain, you will feel some pressure…and many times a fair bit of pressure. Unfortunately, there is no way to keep a person from feeling pressure, though sedation may be an option so that you don’t care so much about the pressure that you experience.
The process of removing a tooth (in general) works as follows. First, we walk around the tooth with an instrument to separate the gum tissue attachment from the tooth. This also serves as a way to check to make sure that the area is good and numb. Second, an instrument is used to push on the tooth to loosen it up. This is where the most pressure is felt. Sometimes on teeth that have multiple roots, it is helpful at this point to separate the tooth into its individual roots. While this sounds like a much more involved and invasive process, it’s important to keep in mind that when done correctly, this actually makes the extraction faster, easier, and less traumatic to the area. Remember, the only part that is being cut on is the part that’s coming out anyway! Once the tooth is loose, an instrument is used to grab the tooth to remove it from the mouth. Sometimes, some material is placed in the site to help regenerate bone where the tooth was removed along with sutures and sometimes a barrier membrane to help the area heal well.
Have more questions? Give our office a call at (317) 788-4239 to schedule a consultation. Come see what our patients on the south side of Indianapolis and in Greenwood are smiling about!
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