Tooth Extraction

If you have recently had a tooth taken out, you may experience a severe tooth pain if a bit of the tooth root remains or if you did not follow the dentists instructions after the tooth extraction. This tooth pain may only begin 2 days after the extraction. Smoking is a very common cause of this.

Advice: The dentist will tell you if a bit of the tooth root did not come out. If this is the case, it is best to go back to have it taken out as the pain will only become worse.

Advice: If the tooth came out in one piece then the socket may be infected. See your dentist to diagnose the problem. A hot salt water mouth rinse three times a day may help cleanse the socket.

Tooth Extraction FAQs

Why may I need a tooth extracted?

Unfortunately there are cases when a tooth cannot be saved for whatever reason and the best option is to have the tooth extracted to avoid severe tooth infection. However, there are also cases when healthy teeth need extraction in orthodontics to create space to align the teeth correctly.

Severe trauma to a tooth where it is heavily broken and unrestorable is a common reason for having a tooth extraction. Advanced tooth decay where the pulp and nerves of the tooth have been affected causing pain and swelling, may indicate the need for a tooth extraction if root canal therapy  is not viable, not likely to be successful, or if the patient wishes to just have the tooth taken out.

Sometimes advanced gum disease can reduce the bone supporting the tooth to such a low level, that the tooth becomes mobile and painful. The tooth may need to be taken out for this reason.

Wisdom teeth if causing pain and swelling at the back of the mouth may also need extraction if the problems are recurring and there are no signs that they will get any better.

Is tooth extraction painful?

Tooth extraction is not painful. It is the after effects that can usually cause some discomfort as the body tries to heal the area where the tooth was taken out. Extractions are carried out under local anaesthetic so you do not feel any pain whilst the tooth is being taken out. The only sensation you will feel is pressure as the dentist or oral surgeon removes the tooth.

In some difficult cases, patients can be sedated or put under general anaesthetic for dental extractions, however this is not very common and is usually done with referral to a hospital setting.

What is the process of tooth extraction?

Once the whole procedure has been explained to you by your dentist/oral surgeon, and the necessary pre-operative checks such as medical history, x-rays, clinical examinations and consent forms have been carried out and signed, the dentist will numb the tooth with local anaesthetic so that you don’t feel anything.

Once this has worked and the whole area around the tooth is numb, the dentist will apply a lot of pressure to the tooth with dental forceps to remove the tooth. Any bleeding will then be controlled and the dentist will give you the necessary post-operative instructions on how to look after your mouth so that the area heals nicely.

How does wisdom tooth extraction differ?

Wisdom tooth extraction or other difficult tooth extractions such as buried roots, or heavily broken teeth may require a little extra work to ensure that all of the tooth is removed. If the tooth cannot be gripped and taken out with dental forceps, a small cut in the gum may be required, to expose more of the tooth. Bone around the tooth may also need to be gently removed to expose more of the tooth. The tooth may even need to be divided and the roots separated so that it can all be taken out. Once the tooth is out, you will require some stitches to close off the area so that it can heal effectively.

What should I do after tooth extraction?

It is important to keep the area very clean after having a tooth extracted. You should follow the following guidelines:

  • Take painkillers if necessary for 1-2 days after the extraction, as once the anaesthetic wears off, the area will feel quite sore and swollen.
  • If the area starts bleeding again, place a gauze pack (usually provided by your dentist) directly over the socket and apply a lot of pressure for 5-20 minutes until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding continues contact your dentist.
  • Do not smoke for up to 10 days after the extraction as there is an increased risk of a dry socket, where the area will not heal properly and cause further infection.
  • Do not rinse your mouth for the next 12 hours as this will disrupt a clot forming over the socket allowing the area to heal correctly.
  • As it will be tender for a few days after the extraction, it will be difficult to brush your teeth around that area. Using a salt-water rinse 4-6 times a days during that period will help keep the area clean.

Is post-op tooth extraction infection common?

These are commonly called Dry sockets and can occur after routine dental extractions. The risks are higher, if the area is not kept clean, if the patient smokes directly after the extraction, or if the extraction was quite traumatic and the gum needed cutting or bone needed removing around the tooth. Dry sockets are usually treated by irrigating the socket with a disinfectant or a chlorhexidine agent, placing a steroid dressing into the socket to aid healing, and prescribing painkillers for use if needed. Dry sockets usually clear away within 1-2 weeks but in severe cases, they can last longer.