Your natural teeth are designed to last a lifetime with the right oral care and hygiene. Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out that way. For many, a tooth extraction may be necessary for a number of reasons.
You might need a tooth extraction if you have:
- decayed or infected teeth,
- severe gum disease,
- overcrowded teeth,
- impacted wisdom teeth or
- significant breaks or fractures of teeth that go below the gum line.
Tooth extraction is usually only a last resort in most of the situations listed above. Once your dentist examines and assesses your oral condition, they may recommend treatment options that can save or repair your damaged tooth, such as a crown or root canal treatment.
Types of tooth extraction
There are 2 types of tooth extraction performed by our dentists and/or oral surgeons:
- Simple routine tooth extractions – for visible teeth.
- Surgical tooth extractions – for teeth that have partially erupted (e.g. wisdom teeth), or have fractured or decayed below the gum line.
In some cases of simple tooth extractions, where the tooth fractures during the procedure, surgical removal may be necessary.
What happens during a tooth extraction procedure?
For routine tooth extractions, the most common type of extraction, the procedure is pretty straight forward, and will take between 20-40 minutes to perform in total. You’ll receive a local anaesthetic to block any sensations of pain, after which your dentist will utilise dental tools, such as an elevator and forceps, to lift your tooth up and out of its socket.
You will probably feel some pressure as your tooth is wiggled around a bit, in order to loosen it from its socket for easy removal. Once your tooth is removed, a piece of gauze is applied to stop normal bleeding and protect the empty socket.
For surgical extractions, a more complicated extraction procedure is required, and may be performed by our oral surgeon under local or general anaesthetic. They can take up to 2 hours or longer, depending on the difficulty and number of teeth being extracted.
Normally, a small incision in the gum is required to remove the tooth. It may also be necessary to break the tooth up into smaller pieces to facilitate easier removal. Afterwards, you may need a few dissolvable stitches to help the gum heal.
Aftercare for tooth extractions
By the end of your extraction procedure, any bleeding should have subsided, and a clot should have started to form. Once your dentist is satisfied that your extraction has been successfully completed, they will advise you on the best ways to care for your mouth during the healing process.
Depending on your personal situation, these instructions are intended to help prevent further bleeding, prevent pain and aid healing which typically takes a week to heal – give or take a few days. Your dentist will also advise you of all potential complications following your extraction, so that you know when to call if the healing process doesn’t run smoothly.
The first 24 hours are when you’ll feel the most discomfort. After 3 days, you’ll start to feel more normal as your gums heal over the empty socket. After a couple weeks, the gum tissue should heal completely.
If you’ve had a more complex surgical extraction that involves the removal of bone, it can take up to 8 months for complete healing to occur.
Planning your tooth extraction
Before undergoing a tooth extraction, you might consider replacing your missing tooth with an implant, bridge or partial denture. Our dentists will provide you with a treatment plan including costs, and recommend the best tooth replacement options available to you at this time.
At Complete Dental Works, we ensure that you fully understand what your tooth extraction procedure will involve, as well as all available related options. Our dental team are happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have also.
For more information regarding tooth extractions or to schedule an appointment, call our friendly reception at Complete Dental Works on 07 3848 1574.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.