What is a tooth extraction?
A tooth extraction involves the complete removal of a tooth from your mouth. There are several reasons why your dentist may recommend tooth extraction, such as:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Broken or irreparable tooth
- Crowded teeth
- Impacted wisdom teeth
In situations where a tooth is beyond saving, tooth extraction may be recommended.
What is an extraction?
A tooth extraction simply refers to the process of having a tooth completely removed. If your dentist recommends this treatment, it is likely that you'll have one of the following problems:
• A decaying tooth, or a tooth that can't be saved,
• A broken tooth, or one that's irreparable,
• Too many teeth (also referred to as crowding),
• A tooth that negatively impacts your wisdom teeth.
What's the treatment like?
During your tooth extraction appointment, your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to make sure the area being treated is fully numb, so you won't feel any discomfort. If you're nervous about the anaesthetic, speak to your dentist about the other options available, like sedation, and they'll be able to recommend the most suitable.
In order to remove your tooth, your dentist might need to take a little gum or bone tissue away first, especially when it's impacting the tooth needing to be removed. This is particularly common with wisdom teeth. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your dentist will use dental forceps to remove your tooth. This is done by moving the tooth back and forth to detach it.
Once the tooth has been fully removed, your dentist will use gauze to stop any bleeding, and use stitches to repair the gap should this be necessary. The whole treatment shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes.
After your treatment
Once you've had a tooth extraction, taking the following steps can help you to avoid discomfort;
• Keep the area clean, brushing and flossing as normal, and avoid touching it with your tongue.
• If you experience discomfort, your dentist will have recommended painkillers to take as prescribed.
• To avoid swelling, use an ice pack for ten minutes at a time.
• Avoid smoking.
• Avoid any strenuous activities for the next 24 hours or so.
• Try not to eat hard foods while the area is healing.
• Avoid drinking through a straw.
• A blood clot will eventually form over the extraction site, so avoid rinsing your mouth or spitting so you don't dislodge it.
• Once 24 hours have passed, gently rinse your mouth with a salt water solution. About half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water should suffice.
• If you notice your extraction area bleeding persistently after 24 hours, get in touch with your dentist for advice.
For more information on tooth extractions, or if you have any queries about our services, simply find and contact your local Bupa Dental Care practice.
- Avoid any strenuous activities for at least 24 hours after the treatment
- Take painkillers as prescribed
- Avoid touching the extraction site with your tongue
- After the treatment, apply an icepack to the face for ten-minute intervals to keep any swelling down
- Avoid spitting or rinsing your mouth for 24 hours after treatment to avoid dislodging the blood clot that will have formed over the extraction site
- If you smoke try to avoid doing so until healing is complete
- After the first 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with a solution of half a teaspoon of salt mixed with a glassful of lukewarm water
- Avoid eating hard foods while healing is taking place
- Avoid drinking through a straw
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth as normal, but avoid the extraction site. A clean mouth aids healing
- If persistent bleeding occurs after the first 24 hours post treatment, contact your dentist