A tooth extraction is just another name for a tooth removal. There are many reasons why your dentist might recommend having a tooth removed, but, generally, this is a last-resort treatment if your tooth has become too damaged to be repaired by another treatment such as a filling or a crown.
Damaged or Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedures
A simple extraction involves the removal of a tooth that can be seen inside the mouth. The dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator before using forceps to remove the tooth.
A surgical extraction is the more complex type of tooth extraction. If your tooth has broken off at the gum line or is still located within the gum, surgical intervention will be necessary. Your oral surgeon will make a small incision into your gum to remove the broken or impacted tooth.
Frequently Asked Question
Why might my tooth have to be removed?
If your tooth has become so damaged that it cannot be repaired, has begun to damage other teeth, is infected or decayed, your dentist may recommend that you have it removed. If your dentist has made this decision, the relief the procedure offers is likely to far exceed any temporary pain caused by the tooth extraction.
How much will my tooth extraction hurt?
Advances in dentistry are being made all the time. Tooth removals are becoming increasingly easy to recover from.
If you’ve been ignoring a painful or decaying tooth, it is better to undergo an extraction and deal with it before it evolves into a more significant issue. The minor discomfort the procedure causes is a small price to pay for substantial long-term relief and peace of mind.
You’ll often have the option to be sedated during the procedure and will be given painkillers to aid your recovery
How should I prepare for surgery?
Fortunately, tooth extraction procedures are very straightforward, and you’re unlikely to need much specialised preparation. You may have to take antibiotics before and after the extraction to minimise your risk of infection.
Be sure to tell your dentist your complete medical history. This includes any medications you’re currently on, anything you might be allergic to and any other health conditions you may have.
During the extraction itself, you’ll usually have the option for either oral or IV sedation.
How should I look after my mouth after the extraction?
Make sure to get plenty of rest and keep an eye on what you eat. After your tooth extraction, you should try to avoid food that’s crunchy or hard to chew. Instead, go for soft foods, like soups, that don’t require much chewing.
Avoiding food that’s very hot or cold can also help you minimise irritation.
You’re likely to have swelling at the extraction site. Both the swelling and discomfort are usually worst at the 48-hour mark and take around a week to fully subside. Using an ice pack can help manage any swelling. You will also usually be prescribed painkillers to help with any discomfort.
To reduce your risk of infection, avoid brushing the area, and be sure to follow any additional instructions or advice your dentist has given you.
Why do I have to take antibiotics before my dental appointment?
There are certain conditions that require pre-medication with an antibiotic prior to dental treatment to prevent adverse effects and infection that can be caused by bacteria that enter the bloodstream during certain treatment. You will want to consult with your dentist about this prior to treatment.
How does a dentist pull out teeth?
Your dentist will begin by anaesthetising the area around your tooth. Making the gum tissue that surrounds the tooth being removed numb.
Unfortunately, there is still no way to give you a “local” aesthetic other than via injection. So your dentist will inject the aesthetic into multiple close together points around your tooth.
Usually your dentist will use very fine injection needles which will reduce the pain. There will always been a sharp pricking sensation that may hurt but it doesn’t always cause pain. In fact some patients don’t have pain at all.
Your dentist will wait with you for a short period, for the numbing sensation to take effect. The numbness will make you feel tingly where the injections were inserted and for some people it feels like their mouth and lips a hugely swollen. They aren’t!
Next comes the part where your tooth gets pulled out.
What happens to my gum once the tooth is pulled out?
Next your dentist will clean up and close the tooth extraction site. They will make sure to remove any tissue that could cause an infection. Followed by some “irrigation” of the socket. Basically they wash out the socket to ensure it is clean.
If your dentist is concerned about bleeding, they may place something in the socket to promote blood clotting. Next they’ll use their finger and apply pressure to the socket. This is to re-compress the socket, making it smaller again.
Your dentist may give you an ice pack to put on your face to reduce swelling. Though it’s not needed for all patients.
Now that your tooth is removed, your dentist will take you through the post-procedure care instructions you’ll need to follow at home.
Some people feel a little unsteady or dizzy after getting a tooth pulled. That’s OK. You’ve just been through something out of the ordinary.
Why am I in pain after a tooth extraction?
Generally, any discomfort after an extraction does not last for long and can easily be controlled by the painkillers you would normally take for a headache. If it lasts any longer than 24 hours, you should go back to your dental team for advice.
Sometimes the pain may occur 3-4 days after the extraction when a blood clot has not formed properly in the extraction socket and the bone becomes infected. You will need to go back to your dentist, who will dress the socket for you.
How long does bleeding last after and extraction?
Bleeding after a tooth extraction is normal and slight bleeding may be noticed for up to 24 hours after surgery. Use the gauze that was provided to you, and bite down with firm pressure for one hour. You should remove the gauze gently. It may be necessary to take a sip of water to moisten the gauze if it feels stuck to the tissue. Doing this will prevent the bleeding from reoccurring. If you continue to have bleeding in the surgical area, contact your dentist or surgeon. They may instruct you to bite on a moist black tea bag. The tannic acid in the tea has been shown to reduce bleeding and assist with clotting.
My face is swollen after my tooth extraction.
Swelling is a normal response to various types of surgery. Keep your head elevated with pillows as mentioned above. You may use an ice pack on the outside of your face for the first 24 hours after oral surgery. Swelling is usually completely gone within 7 to 10 days after oral surgery. Stiffness in the muscles of the face is also normal and may be noticed for up to 10 days after oral surgery. You may see slight bruising, typically if the surgery involved your lower. If you have any concerns about swelling, or swelling has not reduced after 7 to 10 days, contact your doctor.
How do I brush my teeth after a tooth extraction?
Vigorous rinsing and spitting should be avoided for 24 hours. Brush gently and floss if you’re able to open wide enough. Lightly rinse your mouth with water, avoiding mouthwash. Let the water fall out of your mouth on its own. After 24 hours, consider rinsing with a saline or salt water solution. This will naturally help keep the surgical site clean, aiding in the healing process. Prepare your saline solution by placing one tablespoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Do not swallow the saline solution. Repeat this as necessary throughout the day. If you have had an extraction, do not attempt to remove anything from the tooth socket (hole). Rinsing lightly will dislodge any food particles from the site.
Can I smoke after a tooth extraction?
Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after oral surgery. Smoking delays healing and may cause a very painful infection called a dry socket. This condition is a painful infection that will need to be treated by your dentist. Avoid the use of smokeless or chewing tobacco until complete healing has occurred. If you have had an extraction, the pieces from the tobacco may enter the extraction site, causing pain and discomfort in the socket.