When a tooth becomes too damaged or infected, extraction is often the only option. Losing teeth is not ideal. As we lose teeth, we also lose function, stability, our speech is altered and our appearance is affected.

There are treatment options available for replacing extracted teeth, such as implant, bridge and partial removable denture.

Extractions are either ‘simple’ or ‘surgical’. They are performed under local anaesthetic in the dental chair, or if they are surgical and there are a number of them, for example wisdom teeth, the treatment is performed under general anaesthetic in hospital.

When planning for an extraction, ensure that you eat a good meal prior to your visit. Plan to have a quiet remainder of the day with limited physical activity.

How is it done?
Once you are numb in the area the dentist will perform the extraction. There is no pain involved, only pressure. Once the tooth has been extracted, gauze is placed over the socket. You bite firmly on this until bleeding stops. In some instances sutures are placed to aid successful healing. These will either be resorbable and fall out by themselves after a few days, or they are non-resorbable and you will visit the practice after a week to have them removed by the dentist.

Aftercare Instructions:
Once your extraction is complete, it is important to care for the area.

  • Continue biting on the gauze pack for half an hour. If bleeding continues replace with a fresh pack.
  • To avoid swelling, use an ice pack over the area during the first 24 hours (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off).
  • Avoid hot food or drinks until the numbness wears off.
  • Avoid spicy foods for the remainder of the day.
  • If you rest, keep your head higher than your body by using an extra pillow. Do this for the first night’s sleep.
  • Do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours. There will be a blood clot protecting the site that must stay stable.
  • No strenuous physical activity for the remainder of the day.
  • AFTER 24 hours, start gently rinsing with warm salt water mouth rinse 4-5 times a day.
  • No alcohol or smoking for 48 hours.
  • Take medication as directed, if administered.
  • Do not use a straw for 3 days.
  • Contact the surgery if there are any concerns.

If the blood clot is lost, a dry socket can develop. This is a very uncomfortable feeling. If this does occur, return to the practice and the dentist will place a dressing to aid in healing.

Other risks, although occurring on very rare occasions are:

  • Accidental damage of surrounding teeth
  • Incomplete extraction in which a fractured root remains in the jaw
  • Fractured jaw due to pressure applied during extraction
  • A hole in the sinus when extracting an upper molar
  • Long-lasting numbness in the lower lip and chin