Losing a tooth is never fun, but our team can make it tolerable.
Many dental procedures are available now to save or repair problem teeth, however, there are some times when removing the tooth is the only true solution if it has advanced dental decay. We offer stress-free, pain-free tooth removal procedures that will, possibly in addition to other treatments, help restore the health and comfort of your mouth. Our clinic has the right equipment and clean environment to carry out these procedures with the utmost care.
An extraction is the process of removing a tooth from your mouth and it is one of the commonest procedures performed by dentists.
Once a tooth is removed there is no going back, so it is important to consider the alternatives to an extraction and what you intend to do with the space.
An extraction is necessary when:
- Periodontal disease or gum disease has compromised the health of bone and gum surrounding the tooth and they become loose.
- Decay or breakage of the tooth has reached the living nerve part of the tooth causing pain, the tooth cannot be filled and root canal treatment is not an option.
- Trauma to the tooth has resulted in the tooth becoming mobile.
- Overcrowding, sometimes when permanent teeth erupt into the mouth, baby teeth may not shed in time and these baby teeth will need to be removed to allow for the permanent teeth to move into place properly.
- For braces, when having orthodontic treatment carried out, your orthodontist may ask you to have a few teeth removed.
- Infected wisdom teeth. These teeth are often difficult to clean and easily decay or become infected. If this is the case, the usual treatment for these teeth are to have them removed. Please see more information on wisdom teeth below.
There are two forms of extraction: routine and surgical extractions.
- Routine extractions are performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth. They are removed due to decay or injury and are usually performed under a local anesthetic. During this procedure, the doctor will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the forceps back and forth. The loosened tooth will then easily come out.
- Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line or that have not yet come in (ie: wisdom teeth). To remove the tooth, the doctor will have to cut and pull back the gums, which allows access to the area. This is necessary so that they can see the tooth that needs to be removed. Surgical extractions are usually carried out under local anesthesia but a general anesthesia is also recommended sometimes.
Most extractions are done under a local anaesthetisia. Once the tooth is numb the dentist will use instruments to remove the tooth.
Extractions are not painful because we use a local anesthetic to numb the area before beginning the procedure. This anesthetic will allow us to remove the tooth without any pain or discomfort.
Every person is different, but usually for a straightforward extraction, you should be able to return to regular activities within 1-2 days of having the extraction done, if it was a particularly difficult extraction, this may take 3- 4 days or more.
It is important to take pain relief straight after the extraction and for the first 24-48 hours after having the tooth removed as this will help relieve any discomfort you may have.
Some people develop infections as a complication after the extraction is carried out and may or may not need antibiotics. If you feel any discomfort or undue pain, contact your dentist immediately.
The basic options for restoring a space are a bridge, an implant or a partial denture. There are different types of each and the decision is based on many factors.
For a good overview, see Solutions For Missing Teeth.
About Wisdom Teeth
The reason that wisdom teeth often give problems, is because there generally isn’t enough space for them to come through nicely, and as a result they often become impacted. They may never come through, come only part way through the gum, or come through out of position, over to one side. Add this to the fact that they are the furthest tooth back in the mouth, meaning the hardest to keep clean and will decay easily. Impacted wisdom teeth can give rises to infection, cysts and cause damage to other teeth.
The most common treatment for troublesome wisdom teeth is to have them removed.
Even if you chose to wait to have your wisdom teeth removed, it is important to continuously monitor them. Your mouth is constantly changing over time and it is possible to develop problems later in life.
- Tooth decay
Teeth are very hard to keep clean and are more prone to decay.
The decay is left untreated, the decay could spread to the pulp of the tooth causing pain, infection and facial swelling.
Food and bacteria may become trapped under the gums around the wisdom tooth, causing pain and infection.
- Cyst formation
In rare occasions, a cyst may form around the wisdom tooth and can damage the bone around the wisdom tooth and may be a risk for cancer
As wisdom teeth erupt into your mouth, they may push other teeth forward, resulting in crowding.
Most extractions will be performed by your dentist and general dentists are very good at handling the vast majority of things in everyday practise.
If the tooth is heavily impacted, or the risk of complications is high, they may decide to refer you to an oral surgeon to have the tooth removed.
The dentist will inform you after looking at the X-ray and examining your mouth, which approach is most likely and the anticipated cost of the extraction. Wisdom teeth often require surgical extraction because they’re usually impacted.
Usually a Panoramic X-Ray is necessary before starting the extraction to precisely determine the position of the wisdom teeth and to safely plan the removal. The procedure for removing your wisdom teeth will depend how deeply impacted your teeth are. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your dentist will widen the socket (the area your tooth sits in) using a tool called an elevator or a pair of special forceps. He will then move the tooth from side to side until it is loose enough to be removed completely.
However, if your tooth is more difficult to remove, your dentist will cut through your gums and may remove some of your jawbone to reach your tooth. He will remove your wisdom teeth and then close your wounds with stitches if necessary. You will then receive all the important aftercare instructions.
With any extraction you may get some swelling and/or discomfort for a few days afterwards which can be eased with over-the-counter painkillers.
Depending on how difficult an extraction it will be, most procedures take between 30 minutes to 1 ½ hours.
Because these teeth are located far back in the mouth, they are often very difficult for the dentist to work on. Some swelling and bruising is expected after the extraction. You may need to take a few days away from work after very difficult extractions. Complete healing doesn’t fully occur for a few weeks to a few months after extraction. Usually, after about two weeks, your mouth will be reasonably comfortable.
If you have been given stitches to close the extraction site, you need to return to the dentist after a week to have them removed.
You will be expected to take a lot of rest after the procedure as well as a soft diet.
It is not advisable that you exercise or partake in strenuous activities after the extraction as this could result in delayed healing of the extraction site.
To read more, please read Instructions After Dental Treatments.