Your natural teeth may last a lifetime if you take a good and regular oral care and maintenance. However, there may come a time when you need to undergo tooth extraction for various reasons.
In case you have any concerns about tooth extraction, please feel free to give us a call.
Reasons for Tooth Extraction
There are plenty of reasons why you might need to opt for a tooth extraction. For example, if you have:
- Severe tooth decay
- Gum disease (periodontal disease)
- Unrepairable broken tooth
- An abscess or pus on your gums or around your teeth
- Overcrowding – when your teeth don’t have enough space in your jaw
- Impacted wisdom teeth
Where possible a dentist uses tooth extraction as the last option as this procedure is irreversible. As a dentist assesses your mouth and teeth, he/she need to consider if the tooth needs to be removed or are there any other viable options.
Does Tooth Removal Hurt?
Tooth extraction is not ideal nor is it the most comfortable of procedures.
During the procedure, it should not hurt. Under a routine extraction, local anaesthetic will be administered. This means the area around the tooth to be extracted will be numbed with a numbing agent injected.
Once administered, it will take a couple of minutes to take effect. The dentist will check and ensure the area is numb before proceeding.
Once the extraction begins, you should only feel the pressure but no pain. If you do, you should alert the dentist immediately.
After the extraction, you will feel some discomfort and this may carry on for up to a few days. You might get a bit of swelling or sore in and around the extracted tooth. This feeling normally goes away as your body recovers.
Tooth Removal Aftercare
After tooth extraction, your gum may bleed for a few minutes. Your dentist will give you a few pieces of gauze to bite on to stop the bleeding.
Before you go home, your dentist or surgeon will give you recommendations on post-extraction care for your teeth and gums. Painkillers and antibacterial mouthwash may be prescribed or recommended. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce your chances of developing an infection.
If you have had a general anaesthetic or sedative, you’ll need to rest until the effects of the anaesthetic or sedative have worn off. Ask a friend or family member to take you home and ask them to stay with you for a day or so until the anaesthetic wears off.
For most tooth extraction cases, you won’t need a follow-up appointment. However, if you had a complicated procedure, you might need to go back to see your dentist so they can check how you are healing.
Routine Tooth Extraction Procedure
Once you are ready and seated in the dental chair, your dentist will administer a local anaesthetic into the area around your to-be-extracted tooth or teeth. Once administered, it will take a couple of minutes to take effect. The dentist will check and ensure the area is numb before proceeding.
Your tooth sits in a socket (a hole within the gum and bone) with the root of the tooth sits deep within and is fixed in place with ligaments.
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, the dentist will use a tool called an elevator.
This tool helps to loosen the tooth by placing in between the gum and the tooth and lifting it up.
Forceps are used to get a tight grip of the tooth. The forceps allow force and leverage to be applied to the tooth and further help to loosen and lift the tooth out in one piece.
Surgical Tooth Extraction Procedure
In some cases, such as the removal of impacted wisdom teeth, will be a more complicated procedure. Some cracked, broken or decayed teeth may be complicated and require a surgical extraction as well.
During a surgical extraction, an incision into the gum is normally required to give more access to the tooth its underlying bone. At times, specialist drills may be required to remove or even break the tooth into pieces for easier extraction.
It is not always viable to remove the tooth in one piece hence by breaking it up, the dental surgeon can achieve a more successful extraction. With surgical extractions, the use of a stitches is common as the gum tissue has been disrupted more than in a routine removal. Dissolvable stitches are usually used.
Recovery after Tooth Extraction
Most people can go back to their normal daily activities on the same day unless you have a more difficult surgical extraction which may take up to a few days to recover.
If you had a local anaesthetic, it may take a few hours before the numbness in your mouth goes away. Avoid hot food or drinks until the numbness goes away otherwise you might burn or scald your tongue. Be extra careful not to bite on your tongue especially when you speak, eat or drink. If possible, have a good rest and keep your head up to reduce the bleeding.
After the anaesthetic wears off, your mouth may feel sore. If you need painkillers, you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen or both together if recommended by the dentist.
Some may experience the pain worsening around three days after the procedure and then settles down again within a week to 10 days. This is completely normal. However, if you are experiencing severe pain and it is not getting any better, contact your dentist immediately. They will check for any infection and ensure that the wound is healing properly.
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