Sometimes teeth need to be removed.
This could be for a number of reasons:
- Badly decayed teeth that are beyond repair
- Gum disease causing teeth to become loose they need to be removed
- Teeth growing in the wrong direction – such as wisdom teeth which may affect other teeth or are difficult to clean leading to decay.
- Overcrowding of the mouth – too many teeth or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
The procedure for removing teeth is usually straightforward.
Your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to ensure that you do not feel any pain during the procedure.
Special instruments are used to grip the tooth and gently remove it.
There is usually minimal bleeding and this is stopped before you leave the dental surgery by asking you to bite firmly on cotton gauze. Your dentist will give you a written list of instruction which you should follow for the a few days following a tooth extraction to ensure the area is kept as clean as possible and prevent any infections and aid healing.
A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure. It is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come into the mouth yet. Surgical extractions commonly are done by oral surgeons, when you will be referred to your local dental hospital department by your regular dentist. However, they can also be done by general dentists. The dentist makes a small incision (cut) into your gum. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half in order to extract it.
Risks to treatment
There are certain risks associated with both simple and surgical tooth extractions. The most common risk is infection, but as long as you follow your dentist’s instructions, you should be able to avoid this. A dry socket is another risk associated with tooth extraction. When you have a tooth removed, blood usually clots inside the open socket, sealing off the bone underneath. If this doesn’t happen, your bone will be left exposed and that can be extremely painful. If you develop a dry socket, you’ll need to see your dentist to get proper treatment. Other possible risks include damage to surrounding teeth and nerves, which could cause extended numbness but this is rare. To help avoid complications following your procedure, practice good oral hygiene. Use ice to minimize swelling and avoid rinsing your mouth for at least 24 hours.
During the procedure, broken root tips, bone chips and fragments are fairly common complications following a dental extraction. A small uninfected root tip can sometimes be left inside the jaw after a dental extraction if its removal might be too difficult or cause too much trauma for the patient. Often root tips, bone chips and fragments will work their way out on their own, but may also need some help from the dentist to remove them completely. An infected root tip stuck in the jaw bone will require surgical removal.