The procedure: tooth removal
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. Sometimes your dentist may need to put a stitch in the empty socket to help it heal.
You’ll feel some pressure in your mouth when you have a tooth removed but it shouldn’t be painful. If you do feel any pain, let your dentist know straightaway.
Aftercare for tooth removal
Your gum may bleed for a few minutes after you have your tooth taken out. Your dentist will give you a piece of soft padding to bite on to stop the bleeding and you’ll be able to go home once it’s stopped.
Before you go home, your dentist or surgeon will give you advice about looking after your teeth and gums. They may recommend painkillers and an antibacterial mouthwash. They might also prescribe you some antibiotics 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 while the anaesthetic wears off.
You don’t always need a follow-up appointment after you’ve had a tooth removed. But if you had a complicated procedure, you might need to go back to see your dentist so they can check how you’re healing. You’ll be given a date for this while you’re in practice.
Recovering from tooth removal
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. See how you feel and follow your dentist’s advice.
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. 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 your dentist. They’ll check that nothing else is causing it, such as an infection.
ABOUT TOOTH EXTRACTION
While many teens and some adults get their wisdom teeth removed, there are other reasons why tooth extraction may be necessary in adulthood.
Excessive tooth decay, tooth infection, and crowding can all require a tooth extraction. Those who get braces may need one or two teeth removed to provide room for their other teeth as they shift into place. Additionally, those who are undergoing chemotherapy or are about to have an organ transplant may need compromised teeth removed in order to keep their mouth healthy.
Tooth extraction is performed by a dentist or oral surgeon and is a relatively quick outpatient procedure with either local, general, intravenous anaesthesia, or a combination. Removing visible teeth is a simple extraction. Teeth that are broken, below the surface, or impacted require a more involved procedure.