In some cases it will be necessary to extract a tooth. This generally occurs where:
A tooth is too badly damaged from trauma or decay to be repaired.
Advanced infection has damaged a large portion of a tooth and surrounding bone tissue.
The tooth is poorly positioned in the mouth (e.g. where teeth are crowded).
A tooth cannot break through the gum (erupt) as there is no room for it in your mouth.
TOOTH EXTRACTION PROCEDURE:
First the dentist will take an X-ray to better show the structure of the tooth below the gum line. After this, a local anaesthetic is administered which completely numbs the area around the tooth and ensures that the extraction procedure is painless. The dentist then slowly loosens the tooth until it can be removed. You may experience a feeling of ‘pressure’ during this procedure but this is generally very tolerable.
Sometimes where a tooth is badly broken down, a simple means of extraction is not possible. The remaining root structure can sometimes also cause discomfort. If this is indicated, a “surgical extraction” can be performed. It follows similar steps to a regular extraction – though with the placement of sutures/stitches, and sometimes a small amount of supporting socket bone is removed to allow better access and successful removal.
Your dentist will always discuss these options before proceeding with your treatment.
Some degree of swelling and pain is normal after an extraction. This can be alleviated with standard pain killers or, in some cases, we will write a prescription for pain killers. In some case, we may even prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infections. We reassure patients that pain and swelling should subsist in a couple of days. It is usually sensible to avoid cleaning the extraction site with a toothbrush and dental floss for a few days following an extraction while the area is healing.
It is important that if you experience discomfort beyond a couple of days you should attend the clinic for a follow-up appointment so that we can monitor your recovery and ensure that your pain is relived as quickly as possible.
POST EXTRACTION DO’S AND DON’TS:
Take painkillers as instructed by your dentist.
Bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for three to four hours after the extraction.
Relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Limit activity for the next day or two.
Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket.
After 24 hours, rinse with your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
Eat soft foods, such as soup, yoghurt etc. the day of the extraction. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
When lying down, prop your head with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid the extraction site. Doing so will help prevent infection.