At High locks we always endeavour to save teeth however when they are damaged or decayed and can’t be repaired your dentist may decide to remove (extract) the tooth as a last resort. Your dentist will talk through your options with you during your consultation helping you make an informed decision.
There are lots of reasons why you might need to have a tooth removed. For example, if you have:
- Severe tooth decay
- Gum disease (periodontal disease)
- A broken tooth that can’t be repaired
- An abscess (a collection of pus) on your gums or around your teeth
- Crowded teeth – when your teeth don’t have enough space in your jaw
- Impacted wisdom teeth
Your dentist will usually remove a tooth in your dental surgery, however sometimes an oral surgeon will do the procedure in hospital if your extraction is more complicated.
Teeth are normally removed under a local anaesthetic which completely blocks pain from your gums, although you’ll still feel a pressure sensation. You will stay awake during the procedure meaning you are aware of what’s happening. If you’re very anxious about having your tooth removed, it might be possible to have a sedative, which relieves anxiety, makes you feel sleepy and helps you to relax. Sometimes a referral may be necessary in order to have treatment under sedation.
Having a general anaesthetic for an extraction is usually only an option for young children or adults with learning disabilities. However, your dentist may decide it’s right for you if several of your teeth need to be removed, or the extraction is going to be more difficult than usual. If you’re going to have a general anaesthetic, your dentist will refer you to a hospital to have your procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once you’re sitting comfortably in a chair, your dentist will inject a local anaesthetic into the area around your tooth or teeth. They’ll wait a few minutes to allow the injection to work and ask you a few questions to see if it’s taking effect. The roots of your tooth sit in a socket (hole) in your gum. Your dentist will widen your tooth socket and gently loosen your tooth before they remove it. On occasions the tooth may need to be cut using the dental drill so that it can be taken out in smaller pieces. Sometimes your dentist may need to put a stitch in the empty socket to help it heal. You will feel some pressure in your mouth when you have a tooth removed but it shouldn’t be painful. If you do feel any pain all you need to do is put your hand up and the dentist will stop and see why you experiencing any discomfort.
Most people can go back to their normal routine the same day. Only if you have a more difficult surgical extraction, will it take a few days to recover. If you had a local anaesthetic, it may take a few hours before the feeling comes back into your mouth. Don’t have any hot food or drinks until it comes back otherwise you might burn or scald your mouth. Also take care not to bite your tongue, particularly when you speak, drink or eat. Rest as much as possible and keep your head up to reduce the bleeding.
Your mouth may feel sore once the anaesthetic wears off. If you need pain relief, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Your dentist may suggest that you take paracetamol and ibuprofen together. Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicines. If you have any questions, ask a pharmacist for advice.
Some people find that their pain is worse about three days after the procedure, but then settles down again within a week to 10 days. This is completely normal. If you’re in severe pain and it gets worse, contact us and your dentist will check that nothing else is causing it, such as an infection.
- Don’t rinse your mouth out for at least 24 hours after a tooth removal. This could disturb any blood clot that has formed, and you may start bleeding again.
- After 24 hours, rinse gently with a salt water mouthwash (made using salt and hot, but not boiling water), four times a day to keep the area clean.
- Eat soft food once you first have your tooth removed, so you don’t have to chew much.
- If your gum bleeds, bite down on a clean pad of material such as a clean handkerchief for at least 15 minutes.
- Don’t drink alcohol for at least 24 hours and don’t smoke for as long as possible, but at least for the rest of the day.
- Brush your teeth but keep your toothbrush away from the healing wound, to begin with, brushing closer to it each day. You could try softening your toothbrush in hot water before you brush.
You may have stitches, depending on which tooth was removed, and why. The stitches will dissolve by themselves within a week to 10 days, so you will not need to have them removed. It’s important to brush these carefully for three to four days after your surgery to stop food getting trapped, but be careful so you don’t dislodge any newly formed blood clots that may have formed over your empty tooth socket.
You’re likely to have some discomfort for a few days afterwards and you may have some swelling. You can use an ice pack or frozen peas wrapped in a towel to reduce the swelling.