Why do teeth need to be extracted?
We usually like to expect adult teeth to last us a lifetime. In some cases teeth may become overcrowded, damaged or decayed beyond repair, and tooth removal may become necessary. At West Heath Dental Surgery, our experienced clinicians provide pain-free tooth removal in a stress-free environment.Book an appointment
First, your dentist will take a detailed medical history and examine your mouth. They will then arrange any special investigations required. This would normally involve taking an x-ray of the tooth in question. The x-ray will provide further information about the structure of the tooth and its roots and help the dentist assess the complexity of the treatment.
The procedure commonly takes between 20-40 minutes. You will have your tooth or teeth removed under local anaesthetic. The anaesthetic will allow the pain sensation to be completely blocked from your tooth. Once the area is completely numb the dentist will carefully loosen your tooth with specially designed instruments, you may feel some pushing and pulling but the procedure should not hurt. They will then remove the tooth and if required they may place a dressing into the space to stop any bleeding. In some cases, the dentist may need to make an incision into the gum to expose the tooth, they may need to drill the tooth to separate it from the surrounding bone. These procedures may take a little longer but are all normal and will be explained to you before your treatment startsBook an appointment
Aftercare and Recovery
Taking care of your mouth post-surgery
Most people are able to go back to their normal routine the same day. If you have had a more complex extraction, it may take a few days to recover. The local anaesthetic may take a few hours to wear off, and for you to get the feeling back in your mouth. We advise not to have anything too hot to eat or drink during this time as you may burn or scald your mouth. You will be given an extra gauze pack to use if the socket continues to bleed after the anaesthetic wears off. Use this or a damp cloth to bite on over the tooth socket for 15-20 minutes to control the bleeding.
It’s important to follow the recommended aftercare plan to prevent infection and ensure your mouth heals properly. You will be given this in writing before you leave the practice.
It is important to keep the tooth socket clean to prevent any infection. For the first 24 hours avoid mouthwashes, rinses, hot food and drink. Try not to poke or brush the area for 24-48 hours. Following this initial period of healing you can rinse your mouth with warm, salty water 4-5 times a day. To reduce the risk of any bleeding, infection or bruising try to avoid any exercise, heavy lifting, alcohol or smoking for the first 48 hours. You can manage any pain or swelling with over-the-counter painkillers.
Tooth extraction could be recommended for a variety of reasons. The most common are:
In an overcrowded mouth:
Tooth removal may be required before orthodontic treatments can begin. Orthodontic treatment aims to achieve the correct alignment for teeth, and sometimes tooth extraction can provide the space required to allow orthodontic appliances to achieve their goals.
When the tooth is severely decayed or traumatised beyond repair:
The tooth may become at risk of infection, and — if the dentist is unable to repair the tooth — extraction may be the most suitable treatment to prevent any infection from spreading.
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the bones and soft tissues that surround and support the teeth. In some cases of severe periodontal disease, the teeth may become loose, infected or painful — and tooth removal may be the only suitable treatment.Back to contents list
All surgery has its risks. Problems with pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling, numbness and infection can happen after any operation.
One of the common complications is dry socket — this is where the blood clot has come out of the socket, leaving it open for bacteria to get in and create an infection. This results in pain continuing and sometimes worsening a few days after the extraction. If this happens, we would ask you to return to the practice for the dentist to assess and place a dressing into the tooth socket to aid the healing and fight off the infection. Other complications include damage to adjacent teeth, nerve injury, jaw injury, sinus problems and retained roots. If you have any concerns, we advise you to speak to your dentist; they will always take time to assess you and provide you with answers to any questions you have.Back to contents list
After a dental extraction, it’s common to feel pain or discomfort which can make chewing certain foods challenging. Soft foods and liquids will be easiest to eat for the first 2-3 days. Consider the temperature of the food, too; very hot or very cold foods may cause soreness in the area. Foods like lukewarm soup, smoothies or scrambled eggs will reduce the risk of discomfort when eating after having a tooth extracted.Back to contents list