Teeth may seem invincible, but the truth is that you can break a tooth much more easily than you might imagine. Trauma is one obvious way that a tooth can be broken, whether it’s from falling, getting into an accident, or being hit in the mouth. But you can also break a tooth by doing something as simple as biting down on ice or some kind of hard food. If you grind your teeth at night, they can become weak and much more susceptible to breaking. And if you have certain types of oral health issues that weaken a tooth – large, untreated cavities or old amalgam fillings, for example – breaking a tooth is a real possibility. Depending on how severely the tooth is broken or cracked, it may be possible to save the tooth if you’re able to get to a dentist fast enough. But sometimes, there’s no choice other than pulling the tooth. If you fall into that category and live in the Austin, Texas area, you’re probably wondering if the broken tooth extraction process hurts. You should be relieved to know that having a tooth pulled isn’t any different than any other type of dental procedure, and often the patient feels no pain or discomfort whatsoever during the extraction process. And that’s all because of modern dental technology and various dental sedation methods.
Types of Sedation Methods Available to Dental Patients
In addition to the novocaine used by the dentist to numb the affected tooth and surrounding gum tissue, most dentists offer a variety of dental sedation methods to their patients in order to allow them to feel more relaxed and comfortable during the dental procedure. Here are the most common forms of sedation offered by most dentists:
- Nitrous oxide – Also known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is administered to a patient immediately prior to the extraction procedure. This relatively mild form of sedation allows you to feel completely at ease and even a little giddy (hence, the name!), while still remaining fully awake and conscious throughout the procedure. Laughing gas goes into effect very quickly and also wears off quickly, which means that most patients are capable of driving themselves home after the procedure.
- Oral sedation – Also referred to as “conscious sedation,” this method involves taking a prescribed oral sedative before you arrive at the dentist’s office. Oral sedation provides a significant level of relaxation for the patient; much more so that laughing gas. And although you’ll be awake throughout the extraction procedure, you may not remember every little detail. If you have a higher level of anxiety about having a tooth pulled, your dentist may recommend oral sedation. Just remember that you’ll need to take the pill prior to your appointment, and the effects are slow to wear off, so you’ll need a ride to your appointment and back home afterwards as well.
- IV sedation – For patients who are very nervous about the extraction procedure, IV sedation may be the best option. Just as the name indicates, IV sedation is administered via IV at the dentist’s office right before the procedure. Patients who receive this type of sedation feel quite sleepy – as if they’re drifting in and out of consciousness. In fact, IV sedation doesn’t render you unconscious, but it does provide a deep level of relaxation that some patients prefer when having a tooth pulled. Make sure you have a ride home after the procedure if this form of sedation is used.
- General anesthesia – There is one significant difference between general anesthesia and sedation: you remain awake with other forms of sedation, but anesthesia renders you completely unconscious. General anesthesia is not typically used for dental procedures unless dental surgery is involved. But if your tooth extraction is relatively complicated, or if your dentist anticipates that it will take quite some time to complete, general anesthesia might be appropriate. If this is necessary, your dentist will have a licensed nurse anesthetist or an anesthesiologist present to administer the sedative and monitor your condition throughout the process. Needless to say, you’ll need a ride home after the procedure, and it’s a good idea to have someone stay with you until you recover fully from this form of sedation.
More About the Tooth Extraction Process and Healing
If you have a broken tooth that needs to be extracted, you will probably not feel any discomfort whatsoever during the procedure itself. But you will most likely feel some pain afterward during the healing process. Unlike many other dental services – where the procedure is entirely complete once you leave the dentist’s office – tooth extraction requires the patient to follow a lengthy set of instructions for safe and effective healing at home. It will be your responsibility to carefully follow these directions after you leave the dentist’s office. It typically takes several days to heal from having a tooth pulled, and you’ll have to take extra precautions during that time. Your dentist will provide you with a full set of instructions on what you should and shouldn’t do during recovery.
Although it’s fair to say that no one wants to break a tooth, much less have one pulled, if that should happen to you, you should take some comfort in knowing that the broken tooth extraction process hurts very little, if at all. Thanks to modern dental methods used by today’s dental professionals – and thanks to the variety of dental sedation methods available to patients – chances are you won’t feel a thing during the procedure. And the discomfort you will likely feel afterward, during the healing process, can usually be addressed by taking over-the-counter pain medication. If these options don’t work for you, you can always request a prescription for pain medicine from your dentist. Fortunately, within several days after the tooth extraction process, any pain and discomfort should be greatly reduced or gone altogether. To find out more information about the broken tooth extraction process, contact your Austin, Texas dentist today to schedule an appointment.