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What is it?

A tooth which is very decayed or damaged or loose because of gum disease may have to be extracted. Wisdom teeth sometimes have to be taken out if they have come through at an awkward angle and are causing problems. Teeth are sometimes taken out from children’s mouths to help other teeth grow straight when they are crowded.
Some teeth are easier to take out than others. A local anaesthetic (an injection into an area in the mouth) will be used to numb the area before it is extracted.

In other cases, usually in the case of extracting all the wisdom teeth, a general anaesthetic is needed and you will have to be treated in a hospital for this.

Your dentist will discuss with you:

  • How to make sure you don’t feel the extraction while it is happening
  • Discuss other treatments you may need after the extraction such a removal of stitches in some cases or requiring a denture.
  • How the treatment will be carried out; when you may hear noise or feel pressure
  • Recovery: you may need some time off work for recovery depending on how difficult the extraction was and also discuss the after care that is required after an extraction such as no smoking, the use of gauze in the area and how to keep the area clean to let the area heal properly.

General information of what to do after and extraction:

  • The first 24 hours are important! Don’t drink alcohol, eat hot food or disturb the clot which will have formed in the space left by the tooth because this may cause the socket to start bleeding again. Do not smoke as this may cause dry socket* which only an antibiotic can clear up and can be very painful. Avoid strenuous exercise for the rest of the day.
  • Do not rinse your mouth out for at least 24 hours as this may also disturb the socket.
  • After more than six hours; rinse gently with warm salty water to keep the socket clean and continue to do this for up to a week after meal and before bed. Use a teaspoonful of salt in a glass of lukewarm water.
  • Brush teeth normally using toothpaste to keep the whole mouth clean but take care in the region where the tooth was extracted.
  • If you feel small pieces of bone working their way out of the socket, this is normal and there is no need to worry.
  • Some swelling or discomfort in the first two/three days is also normal.
  • Take painkillers if you need them. Ask your dentist for advice if you are unsure of what to take.
  • If the bleeding does not stop, use the gauze the dentist provided you with. Roll some small firm pads to a size that will fit over the socket. Keep sitting up and gently clear away any clots of blood around the socket with the gauze. Place a pad across the socket and bite firmly on it for 10/15 minutes. If bleeding persists, contact your dentist.
  • Dry Socket

    Occasionally after an extraction of a tooth the blood clot in the socket can beak done leaving a painful empty hole in the gum. This is called dry socket. If the socket becomes too painful a day or two after the extraction this is usually the reason.

    If it happens, you should go back to your dentist to have the wound cleaned and packed with a dressing or an antibiotic is given to clear away any infection that may have got into the socket.