What is tooth extraction?
Simply put, tooth extraction is a dental procedure that involves the complete removal of an infected, damaged or otherwise problematic tooth from the mouth.
When to get a tooth extraction?
When a tooth has become so damaged that a filling, cap or crown will not suffice, you may require complete removal of the tooth (a tooth extraction). There are several reasons why a patient may require extraction, common reasons include:
- Infection or decay in one or more teeth
- Gum disease
- Damaged teeth after trauma
Other reasons for extraction may include:
- You may have extra teeth that are causing overcrowding issues which is resulting in sore gums and/or difficulty eating.
- Baby teeth that have not fallen out in time for the new adult teeth
- Extraction to make way for the placement of braces
- Certain medication may result in infected teeth (and therefore removal)
- Certain medication that suppresses or impacts the immune system may cause teeth to become infected
- Wisdom teeth that cause pain, have become infected or have developed a cyst will need to be removed to stop the infection spreading.
Before your tooth extraction procedure
Both dentists and orthodontists with adequate medical training are able to perform tooth extraction procedures. Before you’re even considered for tooth extraction, you will need to provide your dentist with any relevant medical information that could impact your procedure. For example, if you suffer with any conditions that may place you at risk of infection or you are on any strong medication, you will need to inform your dentist.
Here are some examples:
- Heart defects
- Impaired or compromised immune system
- Liver disease
- Artificial joints (knee, hip etc)
Providing your dentist with this information is essential to ensure no problems occur during the procedure and you are able to make a full recovery.
Explaining the tooth extraction procedure
The procedure can be performed under either local or general anaesthetic depending on the extent of the surgery. In most cases, if it’s a simple extraction (where the tooth can be seen in the mouth) you will be placed under a local anesthetic. The anaesthetic is injected into or around the affected area, and after a few minutes, the area should feel numbed and your dentist will ask if you can feel anything. After the anaesthetic has taken effect, your dentist will gently widen your tooth socket to help loosen your tooth before it’s removed.
It is likely that a small blood clot will form once the tooth is removed and your dentist will counter this using a gauze pad or stitch to help the area heal. You may feel a slight pulling sensation as the tooth is gently removed but the anesthesia should alleviate the pain. If you are in any discomfort, please inform your dentist so they can numb the area again.
Instances that change the nature of the procedure
If the tooth cannot be seen, has broken off from the gum, has not erupted or is in any way impacted, a surgical extraction may be required. This procedure is typically performed by an oral surgeon but can be performed by some dentists.
The procedure differs slightly to a simple extraction; your dentist will make a small incision in your gum and will gently remove the tooth. Sometimes the tooth may have to be removed in parts or parts of the bone may be removed to safely and effectively remove the impacted tooth.
The difference between a surgical extraction and a simple extraction
The main difference between the two surgeries comes down to the anesthetic used and the time the procedure takes. With surgical extractions, treatment may take longer depending on the positioning of the impacted tooth. If the tooth can be seen, the procedure is typically much faster.
What is wisdom tooth extraction
Another type of tooth extraction procedure that is used to remove one or more wisdom teeth that are, or has the potential to cause pain and discomfort.
What is a wisdom tooth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to erupt and are positioned at the very back of your tooth formation. They can be found on both upper and lower parts of the mouth and typically appear between your late teens and early twenties. Not all wisdom teeth become problematic, in fact most don’t. However, others who do experience wisdom tooth problems can encounter pain, infection and difficulty eating.
The procedure is typically performed when:
- The wisdom teeth impact other molars
- Don’t fully erupt
- Erupt, but only partially
- Erupt but are causing pain and discomfort
Knowing when to visit your dentist
It is notoriously difficult to monitor the development of wisdom teeth due to their differing development patterns. Obvious symptoms such as pain, overcrowded teeth, damage to nearby teeth or gums and infection should be treated immediately by your dentist. Even if you are experiencing no problems with your wisdom teeth, it’s important to arrange check-ups every six months
Tooth extraction aftercare
Your dentist should provide you with an aftercare package or set of instructions. Key points may include:
- Prescribed painkillers
- Keeping the gauze in place for up to four hours
- Resting and avoiding any strenuous exercise for up to one week
- No rinsing until one day after the procedure (this prevents the gauze from dislodging)
- After one day, rinse your mouth using salt solution
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Ensure to brush and floss but avoid the treatment site
Tooth extraction healing time and how long does a tooth extraction take?
Although your aftercare routine will depend on the type of extraction procedure you have undergone, you can expect a healing timeline of just two weeks. During this time, it’s important to keep the blood clot in place (in the tooth socket). If for any reason it is removed, it can form a dry socket, which can be very painful.
Over time, gum tissue and bone will grow into the gap and close up, allowing you to return to your normal eating and drinking routine. However, bear in mind that because there is now a gap where your tooth used to be, your other teeth may shift slightly or you may have problems chewing. For this reason, it’s advised to go for a checkup or discuss implant options with your dentist after your procedure.
The dos and don’ts after tooth extraction and what to eat after tooth extraction
It is essential to avoid all hard foods post-procedure. Any pressure or trauma to the treatment site will only aggravate the tooth and slow down the healing process. Below are a list of foods that are appropriate to eat after your treatment:
Do eat and drink:
- Soup (make sure it’s not extremely hot)
Do not eat and drink:
- Hot spicy foods
- Crunchy foods (nuts, crips, carrots etc)
Pain after tooth extraction
The most common pain associated with tooth extraction is a dry socket.
A dry socket (as mentioned before) can sometimes happen after the tooth has been removed and the blood clot becomes dislodged, fails to develop or dissolves before the socket has healed.
The reason why you will feel pain is because your bone and nerves are now exposed and have no protection. Both are incredibly sensitive and debris can easily become trapped in this space, which is why it’s essential for the gauze to remain in place until fully healed.
Symptoms of dry socket may include:
- Intense pain approximately two-three days post-procedure
- The bone is visible in the socket (due to the loss of the blood clot)
- Bad breath
- A strange and unpleasant taste in your mouth
Does tooth extraction hurt?
Most of the pain you may experience with a tooth extraction happens post-procedure. A local (or in some cases general) anaesthetic is applied to eliminate any pain during the procedure. However, once this wears off and the procedure is finished, you can expect some minor soreness around the treatment site.
Tooth extraction pain can easily be treated with some over-the-counter pain medication or any medication provided by your dentist or medical practitioner. There are other ways to help alleviate the pain, such as:
- Applying an ice pack to the sore area (10 minutes at a time max as any longer and this can cause tissue damage)
- Get plenty of rest
- Eating soft foods
- Cleaning your mouth with salt water one day after your treatment
How long does pain last after tooth extraction
Pain should only be present for approximately 2-5 days post procedure and be fading during this time. You should not experience any major pain 10 days after treatment. If you are experiencing pain after two weeks, then you should seek advice from your dentist or doctor as you may have dry socket.
How much does a tooth extraction cost?
At Hove Dental Clinic, treatment begins at £155 for standard extraction but complex extraction and any additional fixtures (such as crowns, bridges and veneers) will cost more. It is important to arrange a consultation with our Principal Dentist Dimitri Mantazis to discuss your options and a fixed price.
For more information on our treatment prices, please view our price guide.
When was your last checkup?
We recommend every patient visits the dentist at least twice a year (once every six months) for a general checkup to ensure a proper oral hygiene routine is being followed. While there may not be noticeable problems, it’s worth checking to ensure there are no underlying issues that may cost a small fortune to fix in the future. This is especially important for wisdom teeth, which can look and feel as though no issues are present.
You can book a general checkup here today with our Principal Dentist Dimitri Mantazis for more information.