Tooth extraction – what happens when a tooth can’t be saved

child missing tooth

Modern dentistry has a universal rule; never pull a tooth unless it’s absolutely necessary – tooth extraction being the last action for a tooth!

Both dentists and patients are prone to keep natural teeth, opting to repair or restore a damaged tooth before pulling it.

No one wants to remove a tooth, but there are some cases when there is simply no other choice.

Common reasons for tooth extraction

With dentists reluctant to pull teeth, they need a very good reason for tooth extraction. The most common example is damage or decay.

Damage can mean an accident, sports injury or an assault.

If the tooth is damaged beyond repair, then tooth extraction is necessary.

In cases of severe decay, the tooth may need to be removed before infection sets into the gum, causing further, and much more serious problems.

Teeth which have grown at a bad angle are also prime candidates for extraction, especially wisdom teeth.

As wisdom teeth arrive later in life, they may push other teeth out of place, causing great discomfort. Many dentists suggest removing wisdom teeth before they are fully developed.

Dental equipment holding tooth after tooth extraction

What to expect with tooth extraction

There are two types of tooth extraction;  simple and surgical.

Simple extractions are what they sound like; your dentist simply pulls a tooth out. The tooth has to be above the gum line, and there must be enough of it to get a good grip.

If there’s not enough tooth showing to secure a firm grip, or the tooth is too fragile to grab tightly, then surgical extraction is necessary. This involves opening the gum, allowing better access to the tooth.

Surgical extraction is more complicated and requires stitches to close up the gum, allowing it to heal properly.

How much pain is involved with tooth extraction?

Like most trips to the dentist, you should be numbed enough not to feel any pain during the actual procedure. It is expected however, that you would feel some discomfort up to 24 hours after the extraction.

The level of discomfort and how long it lasts will depend on how difficult the extraction was.

Surgical extractions are expected to be more uncomfortable afterwards than simple extractions, for the obvious reason that your gums will need to be cut and heal again.

What happens after tooth extraction?

Having a tooth out isn’t like getting a filling- you can’t do it on your lunch break and go back to work afterwards.

Once the tooth has been extracted, a blood clot usually forms in the socket and your dentist will give you gauze to bite down on immediately after the procedure to help stop the bleeding. It is wise to take the day off after a tooth extraction, go home and relax. Avoid exercise, rest as much as you can, and try to keep your head up to avoid any bleeding. And yes, there will be blood, but that’s normal.

It’s best to avoid any unnecessary talking for the first couple of hours, and eating and drinking are a definite no.

Once the anesthetic wears off you can eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding or ice-cream, but don’t rinse or brush the area for at least 24 hours. It is important to allow the socket to heal, to avoid any damage to the blood clot and risk any infection in the socket.

Always follow your dentist’s instructions for aftercare, and if you find yourself in severe pain, contact them and ask for advice.

tooth extraction

How we can help with tooth extraction

Tooth extraction may sound daunting, but in reality this procedure has come a long way in recent years.

Removing a tooth is a last resort for us, and before heading down that path we will try to fix it with a filling or crown.

If none of these options are possible, then as one of the foremost leaders in advanced dental surgery, we can remove your tooth with the minimum of fuss, inconvenience, and pain.

Hundreds of patients have used our highly reputable services to help them enjoy the simple pleasures of eating, laughing and living with confidence after having a tooth extracted.

Contact us today if you have any questions about us, our practice or tooth extraction.

Our friendly and helpful staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.