In an ideal world, your teeth would stay healthy and look great for life. Due to infection, trauma, and various other reasons, we sometimes need to remove teeth. We don’t want to do this, but in these instances, extraction is essential for preserving your overall oral health.
Although they might cause fear and anxiety, extractions are routine. In fact, they are a commonly performed procedure, and there are very few associated risks.
If you’ve been told you need an extraction, you’ll probably have many questions. Why do you need the extraction? What happens during a dental extraction? What’s the extraction recovery process? How can you replace your extracted teeth?
In this guide, we’ll answer all these questions and talk you through everything you need to know about dental extractions.
Why Does Your Tooth Need Removing?
If we’ve told you that you need a tooth extraction, it’s because it’s necessary. In most cases, we’d always work to save the tooth wherever possible. Here are some of the reasons why we’d remove your tooth:
You have an impacted wisdom tooth
The third molar is the last tooth to erupt. As these don’t usually appear until early adulthood, the jaw has usually finished growing. If there isn’t enough space to accommodate your wisdom teeth, they may not fully erupt.
Impacted wisdom teeth cause pain and swelling. Unfortunately, they will never come through. Instead, they will cause problems to the neighbouring teeth. The only solution is to have the tooth extracted.
You’ve experienced dental trauma
Accidents happen, and teeth can break. Sometimes, the damage to a tooth is so extensive that it’s impossible to repair it. In these instances, we’ll need to remove the remaining tooth to prevent infection.
Your tooth is infected
Cavities caused by tooth decay and cracks in the surface of your teeth can allow bacteria to enter. Eventually, the dental pulp inside your tooth becomes infected. When this happens, the infection must be removed as soon as possible.
Caught early enough, root canal treatments can save your tooth. But left untreated, your tooth will die, and the infection will spread to other parts of your mouth.
Abscesses can form around the root of your tooth. These pockets of pus cause considerable pain and could spread to other parts of your body — including your heart.
Removing a dead or badly infected tooth will stop the spread of the infection and prevent further health problems.
Your teeth aren’t straight
If your jaw is too small, your teeth may be crowded or misaligned. In some cases, teeth are removed from the back of your mouth to provide space to straighten the rest of your smile.
The Dental Extraction Procedure
It’s natural to worry about a dental procedure, but there’s very little to worry about an extraction. During any extraction procedure, you’ll be under anaesthetic. This means that you won’t feel any pain.
A simple extraction procedure where the amount of tooth above the gum is sufficient simply involves us pulling the tooth directly out. In this procedure, you’ll feel some pressure as the tooth is removed.
If you’re having an impacted wisdom tooth taken out, we’ll need to make a small incision in the gum to access the tooth. Once we can get to the tooth, we’ll extract it.
Recovering From a Dental Extraction
Immediately after your procedure, the anaesthetic might take a while to wear off. You mustn’t drive. Bring a friend or family member to your appointment, and ask them to take you home afterwards.
Your mouth will be numb for a while, so it’s best to avoid eating and drinking until the sensation returns. While your mouth is numb, it’s easy to accidentally bite your tongue.
For the remainder of the day of your extraction, you should try to rest. Avoid doing anything strenuous such as exercise.
Typically, the extraction site can take up to two weeks to heal. Pain and swelling should subside after the first couple of days. If you are in pain, painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help. Ice packs can reduce any swelling.
When brushing your teeth, avoid the extraction site. For the first day, don’t use mouthwash or rinse your mouth with water. After 24 hours, you can start rinsing your mouth frequently with antibacterial mouthwash or warm salt water. This will prevent infection and reduce swelling.
Some blood is normal during the early stages of your recovery; over time, this will clot. If a clot doesn’t form, you may develop a condition called ‘dry socket’. Here, the bone below may be exposed, and pain will intensify. If the pain worsens after three to five days, call us.
Replacing Extracted Teeth
If you’ve had a tooth extracted, your ability to bite or chew in that part of your mouth will become impaired. If a prominent tooth is removed, you may have aesthetic concerns too.
But aside from this, there are two other considerations that you might not be aware of. Once a tooth is removed, it can increase the risk of movement in the surrounding teeth. Over time, gaps may form, and teeth may become misaligned.
Additionally, the jaw area that once supported your tooth might start deteriorating. Gradually, minerals from the bone will be lost in the bloodstream. This can affect the shape of the skin around your mouth.
Replacing the tooth with a dental implant capped with a crown will preserve the jaw bone, hold the neighbouring teeth in position, and restore the look and function of the tooth.
Alternatively, you may replace the tooth with a bridge or a partial denture. These options won’t prevent any loss to your jaw, but they will improve the appearance of your smile, allow you to eat confidently, and prevent dental drift.
Book Your Appointment at Love Teeth
Extractions are a last resort, and you may have worries. Our supportive dentists will do everything possible to make the process as simple and pain-free as possible.
If you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort in your teeth, it’s recommended that you see us early for the best possible outcome.
Call us today to schedule an appointment with our team at our Cheam, Chessington, Sutton or Stonecote clinic.