Tooth Removal or Extraction
Having a tooth removed is something that is a common procedure at a dentist. This will be necessary if the tooth is decayed or if it has been damaged. To begin with you should speak to your dentist about what needs to be done and he or she will describe to you what will happen during the tooth removal.
Although a dentist will most likely be the one to remove a tooth, a surgeon might also need to do this where oral surgery is being performed, in hospital.
The reason a tooth is removed will usually be one of the following:
- If the tooth has decayed
- If the patient has gum disease (periodontitis)
- If a tooth is broken and is beyond repair
- If there is an abscess on the gum or around a tooth
- If teeth are too crowded
- If you have an impacted wisdom tooth
Teeth might be extracted in one appointment or over the course of a few appointments. A bridge or false teeth might be used to replace the missing tooth or teeth. All the options will be explained by your dentist.
Preparing yourself to have a tooth out.
Your dentist will help you to prepare for your treatment. He or she will have checked on your dental history and it is very important that you mention any medical history you have that might be useful. Make a list of any medications you are on including the contraceptive pill and also tell the dentist if you use an inhaler. It is even worth mentioning any over the counter medication you take,particularly Aspirin.
You will probablyhave your tooth removed under local anaesthetic. Although you will be wake during the procedure you will not feel anything, as the local anaesthetic will completely numb the area. You might ask for or be offered a sedative that will help to calm you down if you re very anxious. Having a tooth out under general anaesthetic is rare and only used with people with learning difficulties or children, and in certain exceptional circumstances for other people and it will normally be carried out in hospital. Having a general anaesthetic will mean fasting beforehand and you will have to be very careful to follow instructions carefully.
Your dentist will always explain everything that is going to happen to you and you should take this opportunity to ask any questions that you have. You may also be asked to sign a consent form.
Is there any alternative to having a tooth out?
If you do not want to have a tooth taken out then there might be some other alternatives that you dentist can offer you. What alternatives are possible will depend what the problem with your teeth is. You might take painkillers and this will help, but only in the short term. If the problem is an infection then antibiotic treatment or root canal work might solve the problem. If the tooth has suffered damage then a crown or veneer might repair the tooth so that it does not have to be removed. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are suitable for this kind of treatment.
When the tooth is being taken out :
Once your mouth is numb your dentist will start be widening the tooth socket and then go on to rock the tooth gently until it is loose enough for him to pull out. You will probably feel some pressure andhear some noise as the tooth comes out but you should not feel any pain. The whole procedure should take only a few minutes. Sometimes the dentist may need to put a couple of stitches into the socket.
Most teeth only take a few minutes to remove. Afterwards, your dentist may close your tooth socket with stitches.
After the extraction :
There will be some bleeding from your gum after the tooth has been taken out. Your dentist will give you some soft gauze to bite on to stop the bleeding and allow a clot to form. Once the bleeding has stopped you will be allowed to go home with more wadding in case the bleeding starts. If you have had sedation or a general anaesthetic you will not be allowed home until the effects of have worn off. You will also need someone to be with you to drive you home.
If you have had sedation or general anaesthetic you might find that your co-ordination is off and so you should not drive or operate machinery or drink any alcohol for a twenty-four hour period afterwards.
Before you leave the surgery to go home your dentist will give you an antibiotics and painkillers that you need and will give advice on how to look after your teeth and gums. You might need to return for a follow-up appointment.
Recovering after your tooth has been removed.
After a local anaesthesia it will take several hours before the feeling in the numbed area comes back. Over the counter pain-killers should be sufficient for any pain that you haveand you can always ask the pharmacist for advice.
There are several things that you can do to ensure that you make a quick recovery from an extraction.
- For at least six hours you should not rinse your mouth. After that you can rinse gently with water adding half a teaspoon of table salt if you like, dissolved in warm water.
- Eat only soft or pureed food that does not need chewing. Don’t use a straw because this might dislodge the clot in the empty socket.
- If your gum does start to bleed, then you should bite down on a clean wad of material for at least quarter of an hour.
- Don’t drink alcohol for at least 24 hours and don’t smoke for at least 24 hours.
It may take up to a week for the recovery to be complete. In that time you can brush your teeth but you should avoid brushing the empty socket so that you do not dislodge the clot. Brush a little closer to it each day. If you have had stitches they will dissolve by themselves.
What are the risks of tooth extraction?
Like any other procedure, there are risks associated with tooth removal. The best thing to do is to ask your dentist what if any risks he can see with your particular case.
What are the side effects of having a tooth removed?
Most likely there will be some discomfort and swelling that will last for a few days afterwards, and there might also be jaw stiffness. There may be some bleeding for a day or two.
Are there likely to be any complications?
Complications are problems during or after the procedure. They might be:
- Infection: If there is a burning sensation or heavy bleeding, swelling or pain you should always contact your dentist. You may need antibiotics.
- Dry socket: This will happen when the blood fails to clot in the tooth socket, and it does not heal properly. You might have severe pain and you will need to go to the dentist for further treatment.
If you need a tooth extraction or want to discuss your options with a dentist the Dentists Near Me website will have a list of dentist in locations convenient to you.