It is sometimes necessary to have a tooth extracted as an adult.
Although permanent teeth are expected to last a lifetime, tooth extraction may be necessary for a variety of reasons. A tooth that is too badly damaged to be repaired due to trauma or decay is a common reason. Other considerations include:
A crowded mouth: Dentists may extract teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontic treatment. The purpose of orthodontia is to align your teeth properly, which may be difficult if your teeth are too large for your mouth. Similarly, if a tooth cannot break through the gum (erupt) due to a lack of space in the mouth, your dentist may advise extracting it.
Infection: If tooth decay or injury reaches the pulp, the soft tissue at the core of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels, bacteria from the mouth can enter the pulp and cause infection. This is usually treated with root canal therapy (RCT), but if the infection is serious enough that antibiotics or RCT are ineffective, the tooth may need to be extracted to prevent infection from spreading.
Infection Risk: Even the risk of infection in a single tooth may be cause enough to pull the tooth if your immune system is impaired (for example, if you are taking chemotherapy or having an organ transplant).
Periodontal (gum) disease is a type of gum disease. If periodontal disease (infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth) has resulted in tooth loosening, the tooth or teeth may need to be extracted.
Tooth extractions are performed by dentists and oral surgeons (dentists who have received additional training to undertake surgery). Your dentist will inject you with a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be extracted before extracting it. Your dentist may use a strong general anaesthesia in some cases. This will keep you from feeling pain all over your body and allow you to sleep through the process.
If the tooth is impacted, the dentist will remove the gum and bone tissue covering it, then grip the tooth with forceps and gently rock it back and forth to free it from the jaw bone and ligaments holding it in place. A difficult-to-pull tooth may need to be removed in segments.
A blood clot generally forms in the socket after the tooth is extracted. To assist stop the bleeding, the dentist will place a gauze pad in the socket and have you bite down on it. Occasionally, the dentist will use self-dissolving stitches to close the gum margins around the extraction site.
The blood clot in the socket can sometimes break loose, exposing the socket’s bone. Dry socket syndrome is a painful condition. If this happens, your dentist will most likely cover the socket with a sedative dressing for a few days to protect it until a new clot forms.
Although tooth extractions are normally painless, they can introduce deadly bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue might also become infected. You may need to take antibiotics before and after the extraction if you have a condition that puts you at high risk of acquiring a serious infection. Before having a tooth pulled, tell your dentist about your entire medical history, drugs and supplements you’re taking, and if you have any of the following (this list is not exhaustive):
Your dentist will send you home to heal after an extraction. It usually takes a few days to recover. The following tips can help you avoid pain, lower the chance of infection, and speed up your recovery.
New patients are always welcome and we always try to see, where possible, emergencies on the day.