Step 1: Hash out your medical history.
Before pulling teeth, maybe even before recommending tooth removal, your dentist should ask if you have any issues with your heart, blood disorders, systemic diseases, organ transplants or artificial joints.
Also alert your dentist to chemotherapy or radiation treatments as well as your medications. Be sure to discuss everything, including aspirin, biphosonates and birth control. (Ask your dentist about ideal times for pulling teeth in your birth control pill cycle.)
Step 2: Review your X-rays.
This professional consultation allows you to see how the next tooth pulled relates to your other teeth, your sinuses and/or the inferior alveolar nerve located in your jawbone.
If present, you may see infections, tumors or bone disease before your scheduled tooth removal. Your dentist will point these out to you if there are potential problems.
Step 3: Ask about anesthesia.
You'll need to dress for tooth removal success. Dental conscious sedation or deeper anesthesia means wearing sleeves you can roll up for intravenous lines. Also, your dentist may tell you to abstain from food and drink for up to eight hours before your tooth extraction procedure.
Step 4: Get clean.
Find out if you should schedule a dental cleaning before tooth removal or if you need antibiotics to stomp out any infections. Certain medical conditions (like weakened immune systems) may warrant a need for antibiotics beforehand.
Step 5: Talk to your doctor.
Advise your medical physician that your dentist will be pulling teeth if you suffer any immunodeficiency diseases or if you are taking blood-thinning prescriptions or regular doses of aspirin. Your dentist may advise you to stop taking these medications four days before having a tooth pulled to avoid excessive bleeding.
Step 6: Schedule time and transportation.
After a tooth removal, you probably won't want to return to work. Try to take a day or two off, depending on the tooth extraction procedure. (Having wisdom teeth removed, particularly if impacted, may require more time off than getting another tooth pulled.)
Additionally, you may need a friend or family member to drive you home after the tooth removal and/or to pick up any needed pain-killers, even if it's just a bottle of ibuprofen.
Step 7: Find your Zen.
The more relaxed you are as a patient, the more cooperative you'll be. And the less your dentist has to fight your defensive attitude, the easier the tooth pulling for both of you. Face it, your tense, uncooperative posture in the dental chair forces your dentist to work more quickly when pulling teeth. Having a tooth pulled is less traumatic if a dentist can take the time to work gently and efficiently.