Why do teeth need to be extracted?
Dental extractions may be indicated for teeth which are not ideal to be kept in the mouth. These teeth may be extracted due to:
- Large areas of decay in teeth that cannot be filled or crowned
- Broken or traumatized teeth that cannot be repaired
- Infection in the tooth or risk of infection before certain treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- Teeth which are impeding eruption of other teeth (baby or permanent teeth)
- Teeth affected by gum disease or periodontal disease
- Crowded teeth that need to be removed to facilitate braces treatment
- Wisdom teeth which may be impacted and causing pain or infection
How is the procedure carried out?
A radiograph will be taken to first examine the tooth and adjacent structures to determine how to safely and efficiently remove the tooth. The patient’s medical history will also be thoroughly checked to ensure that there are not conditions which contraindicate tooth extraction. After taking consent from the patient, an injection of a local anaesthetic is given to ensure the tooth and all surrounding areas are completely numb. The tooth is then gently pushed out of the socket using elevators or removed using forceps. Certain teeth such as impacted teeth or fractured teeth may require surgical extractions to remove and may be taken out in multiple pieces. The dentist will always check-in with the patient about how they feel before, during and after the procedure to ensure it is carried out as pain-free as possible.
After having a tooth extraction
Right after the tooth extraction, the dentist will check the tooth socket and ensure that a blood clot has been formed before letting the patient go. This is to ensure that the bleeding stabilizes and the wound heals properly. Painkillers are also prescribed to manage post-operative pain, sometimes antibiotics are also prescribed if there is an existing infection or risk of infection. The dentist will also provide you with more instructions on how to care for the socket when you go home. The socket usually closes within 1-2 weeks but complete healing can take up to 3 months. It is advised to return for a review with the dentist so the healing can be monitored. It is also important to plan for steps to replace the missing space as a gap between the teeth can have consequences on the surrounding structures, and affect function and aesthetics.