Tooth Extractions – what should I expect?

28th November 2022

One of the things that we most dread our dentist saying is that we have to have a tooth removed (extracted). It’s less of a worry if you’re young and losing your milk teeth but it can be really upsetting for an adult.

Extractions are very much a treatment of last resort nowadays. In most situations your dentist will do what they can to avoid the need to remove a tooth. If an extraction is required, your dentist will discuss this with you in detail. They will explain the reasons and alternative options so if you do reach the point where a tooth needs to be removed, you will be clear about what this involves.

Why might an extraction be necessary and what should I expect if I have this procedure?

The most common reason that a tooth may need to be removed is if it has been damaged or there is extensive decay. Likewise, if there is infection and this cannot be cured by root canal treatment, or if a previous root canal treatment has failed then there may be no further options for the tooth. An extraction may also be required as a result of gum disease or occasionally because of crowding.

What happens if I have to have an extraction?

If a dentist has to remove a tooth, you will be given a local anaesthetic which will totally numb the area and limit any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Dental anaesthetic is really powerful and in almost all circumstances there will be no pain during an extraction, however you will still be able to feel the pressure that’s being applied to remove the tooth. Depending upon the type of extraction this can sometimes feel uncomfortable but should not be painful.

What comes next?

Your dentist will give you advice on what to do after the treatment. Usually, this will involve gently rinsing with warm salt water on a regular basis to help keep the area clean.

Most extraction sites heal quickly (within a week, sometimes longer) but there can be a risk of infection. The risk is increased if you are a smoker and there are certain medications which can also cause complications, which your dentist will discuss with you.

As ever, contact your dentist if the extraction site becomes very painful, if there is bleeding or if you have any questions relating to the treatment.


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