If your tooth is damaged or decayed and beyond repair, your dentist may decide to extract the tooth as a last resort. Your dentist will always talk your options through with you during your consultation, but in this article, we discuss how a tooth can be removed, the extraction steps and aftercare advice to help you understand the procedure.
Tooth extraction techniques
There are two keyways in which a tooth can be extracted depending on the complexity.
The first way is the normal and usual way teeth are removed. The tooth in question is first loosened using an elevator. The dentist will then use an instrument to hold onto the tooth to safely remove it from your mouth. The next method of extraction is a surgical extraction, and this method is used if the tooth has not come out completely – this is often the case of wisdom teeth, or it has broken below the gum line. In this scenario a small cut is made into the gum to access the tooth, and it is then removed. No matter which of these two methods are used, the steps are similar, and they have been detailed below.
Step one: Tooth numbing
The first step of a tooth extraction is numbing the surrounding area, which involves local anaesthetic being administered. This is done to ensure there is no pain associated with the extraction.
Step two: Tooth extraction
Once the anaesthetic has numbed the area and the effects have begun to take place, the extraction process can begin. Firstly, we would ensure the area is numb by testing the area. The tooth socket is enlarged slightly to allow for easier extraction and ensure that the tooth is not too securely held in place. Following this the tooth is rocked back and forth to ensure the bone can compress and there is enough space to remove the tooth from the ligament. Once the necessary level of space is achieved, the tooth is gently extracted.
Step three: Closing the space
Immediately after the tooth is removed there will be an open socket which must be dealt with. The first stage will be to eradicate any infected tissue around the socket walls. If there are any sharp bone edges then they will be rounded, and the socket will be checked to ensure there is no debris present. In a surgical extraction, or for multiple teeth extraction, there may also be stitches involved.
Step four: Managing bleeding
A gauze may be used around the extraction site if there is significant bleeding following extraction. Applying pressureon the gauze will control bleeding. This pressure will need to be maintained for 5-10 minutes.
Step five: Reducing inflammation
In some cases, there may be some inflammation after the extraction and thus you may be given an ice pack to reduce this. If the dentist expects the swelling to continue, then they will prescribe the necessary medication to deal with it.
Tooth extraction aftercare
Following a tooth extraction, it is essential to take the time to recover and follow proper aftercare. The recovery time itself is usually a few days, but it may take longer than this in some scenarios. Key tips for you to consider have been outlined below
- Ensure you do not fiddle around with the extraction site when brushing or flossing in the first 48 hours
- Use the gauze pad as instructed by the dentist
- Use the necessary painkillers prescribed
- Rinse the area with a warm saltwater solution after 24hours of the extraction. Do not do this within the first 24 hours as the tooth can get infected if the blood clot is lost.
- Avoid any excessive effort or exercise, 24 hours following a tooth extraction.
- Only consume soft foods in the next few days, this includes warm soup, yoghurt, or puddings
- Ensure you do not suck or spit forcefully at in the first few days to avoid dislodging the clot
- Avoid any smoking/tobacco use as it can inhibit healing
Do not hesitate to call The Denture & Implant Clinic team if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to make an appointment with a professional and empathetic dentist.