Your tooth may need to be extracted for a number of reasons. The most common reason is damage either caused by trauma or decay. A damaged tooth could be causing you pain and extracting is the best way to relieve the discomfort and make way for a replacement tooth. Teeth may also be extracted because of crowding. In some orthodontic cases, teeth may need to be removed to allow the other teeth to move properly.
Your dentist will let you know if your tooth needs to be extracted.
What does the treatment involve?
Whatever the circumstances of your extraction, we will always use anaesthetic. A number of options are available and depend on how difficult the tooth is to remove:
- Local anaesthetic
This is an injection into the gum surrounding the tooth, similar to what you may have had at your dentist for a filling. The injection takes a couple of minutes to numb the area and means that you will feel no pain while the tooth is removed. This is the best option for teeth that are simple to remove.
- Local anaesthetic and intravenous sedation
In addition to a local anaesthetic injection, you can be given an injection into your arm. This makes you feel relaxed and less aware of the procedure.
- General anaesthetic
It is usually possible to remove teeth under a day case general anaesthetic even though you are put to sleep completely you will be able to go home on the same day as surgery.
If we need to remove teeth to make room for orthodontic treatment or for other teeth, the procedure is relatively straight-forward and won’t need any surgery. First we take any x-rays to assess the tooth. We’ll numb the area with anaesthetic, then use dental forceps to gently remove the tooth from the gum.
Broken, infected or complicated teeth
In more problematic cases, we will need to carry out surgery to safely remove the entire tooth. We will take x-rays to help determine the best course of action. All extractions are carried out using anaesthetic. More nervous patients can choose to have sedation.
For broken teeth, we may need to make an incision to concealed fragments buried in the gum.
For infected teeth, we will need to remove all infected tissue from the gum as well as the tooth itself. If we believe that we can save the tooth, we can suggest root canal treatment.
For complicated teeth, we may need to remove the tooth in sections.
Is there anything else I need to do after the extractions?
It is important to keep the extraction sites as clean as possible for the first few weeks after surgery. It may be difficult to clean your teeth around the site of the extraction because it is sore. If this is the case, it’s best to keep the area free from food debris by gently rinsing with a mouthwash or warm salt water (dissolve a flat teaspoon of kitchen salt in a cup of warm water).
You can start doing this on the day after surgery.