Our Harley Street Dentist Explains Tooth Extraction
Perhaps the most commonly feared procedure at the dentist is the tooth extraction or exodontia. Most of us will have this done at some point in our lives, whether due to decay, gum disease or accident that affects the tooth. One of the most painful results of a severely infected tooth where the nerves and blood vessels die is that a painful abscess may be formed. Sometimes too, it may even be necessary to remove healthy teeth if the mouth is over crowded, in order to leave sufficient room for the other teeth to grow straight. If an infected tooth is spotted at an early stage, it may be possible to have root canal surgery to save the tooth, rather than having it extracted.
At the time of the procedure to extract a tooth you will be asked about your medical history. This is important as it helps the dentist to identify any problems that may arise such as reaction to medication.
Although not usually necessary, if a patient is excessively afraid of having the treatment, the dentist may issue a sedative which will relax the patient but not put them to sleep. This makes working on the tooth much easier both for patient and for the dentist!
In the vast majority of cases, a local anaesthetic will be injected into the gum around the area of the tooth to be extracted. Those of you who are old enough to remember being given gas to remove teeth will be relieved to hear that this is no longer the case, except in very rare cases where a patient is referred to a hospital if the treatment is deemed sufficiently difficult or there are serious complication likely (e.g. from an existing medical condition). The anaesthetic injected into the gum ensures that no pain will be felt during the extraction.
Once the aesthetic has taken effect, our Harley Street dentist will widen the socket where the tooth sits by using a tool called an elevator. They will then move the tooth from side to side to loosen it ready to be removed. Although you won’t feel any pain during this procedure, you will feel some pressure and possibly hear noise as the tooth is moved. Although not a regular occurrence, it may, in a few cases, be necessary for the dentist to cut into the gum to enable them to drill away some of the bone in order to remove the tooth.
After the procedure, as would be expected, there will be a little bleeding and stitches will be placed and you will be given some padding to bite against the extraction site in order to stop the bleeding. This usually happens within 10 to 15 minutes after the procedure has finished and you will be asked to remain at the dentists until such time as the bleeding does stop. You may also be offered some pain relief as the anaesthetic begins to wear off. Of course, if you have had sedation or a general anaesthetic; it is important that you do not drive and it is probably advisable to ask someone to drive you home as you may feel a little bit disorientated. This effect should wear off within a day or so. It is a good idea to eat softer foods for a while and not chew in the affected area. Also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol for the first day or two as this will inhibit the healing of the wound.
It is also advisable not to rinse out the mouth for several hours after the procedure to allow the wound to heal.
Whilst, in most cases, extraction of a tooth is a straightforward procedure and there should be no side effects other than a little bleeding and possibly soreness around the affected area. However, if you do experience prolonged bleeding, swelling or high temperature, it is important to contact your dentist as soon as possible.