Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. However, sometimes people find themselves in situations where tooth removal is the only option. While this procedure is common and relatively straightforward, it is important that patients are made aware of what this procedure entails.
Tooth extractions may be required for the following reasons:
- Damage – The tooth is irreparable through bad cracks, chips that cannot be repaired through fillings or crowns.
- Infection – Occasionally a tooth may become badly infected right to the pulp and cannot be saved through root canal treatment or medications.
- Overcrowding – Some clients have teeth that are too crowded for their small mouth and need to create more space by removing one or more teeth, then realigning them through orthodontic work.
- Gum disease – Advanced periodontal disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, loosening them over time. In such cases, extraction may be necessary.
WHAT IS TOOTH EXTRACTION?
Also known as tooth pulling, tooth extraction is where the dentist removes your natural tooth from the jawbone.
DO I NEED MY TOOTH EXTRACTED?
We recommend you discuss the option of tooth extraction with your dentist. After inspection, Dr Julia will give you the pros and cons of the procedure (as well as discussing pain relief or even sedation options) and together, you can make an educated decision.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PULL A TOOTH OUT?
Pulling a tooth out, providing it is a ‘simple extraction’ (meaning: the tooth has already erupted through the gum line in the mouth) is usually fairly straightforward, taking only 15 minutes. However, your appointment will be longer as you will need time to be thoroughly numbed up with anaesthetic before your procedure and a little bit of time afterwards, to recover. Your dentist is likely to advise you rest at home for approximately three days so that the wound can clot and heal.
WHAT IS A DRY SOCKET?
In about 2% of all tooth extraction cases, some patients experience a dry socket, which is where the clot removes itself from the wound. Dry socket can be particularly painful, so if you experience throbbing pain, a nasty taste in your mouth and bad breath after extraction, call your dentist immediately. To avoid such a condition, be very gentle with your mouth, avoiding chewing food, spitting, or vigorously rinsing or sucking.
WILL EXTRACTING A TOOTH CURE PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
No. You may need to have a tooth removed if you have periodontal disease (as an irreparably damaged tooth may be a result of periodontal disease), but this will not treat the underlying disease. Depending on how bad your gum disease is, you may need periodontal surgery or scaling and root planning.
DOES GETTING YOUR TEETH PULLED OUT HURT?
Tooth extraction is not nearly as painful as you would think. Your dentist will give you plenty of medication to thoroughly numbed the area for you won’t feel a thing. Afterwards, you may feel some pain in the socket, but you will be given adequate pain medication to cover this.
WILL I BE AWAKE DURING MY TOOTH EXTRACTION?
Usually, all you will need is local anaesthetic for your tooth extraction. If you are extremely nervous, however, you may request sedation so that you are completely relaxed – or even asleep – at the time of your procedure. Please talk to your dentist about sedation options if you are at all concerned.
DENTAL EXTRACTION AFTERCARE
Surgical instructions for dental extraction aftercare.
Follow these dental extraction aftercare instructions given by Dr Julia Coelho.
Immediately following surgery:
- You may have difficulty feeling your lips, cheeks or tongue due to numbness. This is a temporary feeling and will wear off within 2 to 6 hours. Please take care not to bite your lips, cheeks or tongue.
- Avoid mouthwash, mouth rinses, hot food and drinks and strenuous activity for the first 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) 3-4 times per day, always after meals. Be very careful not to dislodge any blood clot in the tooth socket.
- Some oozing is normal. If the socket bleeds, apply pressure by biting down on a clean, rolled up handkerchief placed over the affected area for about 30 minutes. Repeat if still bleeding.
- Take regular painkillers if needed.
- Use a cold compress to ease swelling and sleeping propped up with an extra pillow can help.
- Bruising of the jaw muscles can cause stiffness; this wears off after seven to ten days.
- Eat a well-balanced, soft diet for a few days until you’re able to chew carefully with your remaining teeth.
- Brush your teeth carefully, taking care not to dislodge blood clots in the tooth socket; these prevent bleeding and help protect from infection.
- Complete any course of antibiotics that you may have been given.
- Do not smoke for at least 48 hours following surgery. The longer you avoid smoking, the better your healing will progress.
- If pain or swelling worsens or you get a raised temperature, contact your dentist.
- Do not engage in strenuous activities for at least 24 hours. You may return to work or school when you feel you are recovered.
Please do not hesitate to contact the practice if you have any questions or concerns.