Professional tooth removal

You may need to have your tooth removed (extracted) if it is damaged or decayed and cannot be repaired.

If you decide to have your tooth removed, our dentist will usually remove it in our dental surgery. But sometimes an oral surgeon will carry out the procedure in hospital. You can usually go home on the same day as the procedure.

Your tooth or teeth may need to be removed for several reasons. The most common reasons include:

  • severe tooth decay
  • gum disease (periodontal disease)
  • a broken tooth that can’t be repaired
  • an abscess (a collection of pus) on your gums or around your teeth
  • crowded teeth – when your teeth don’t have enough space in your jaw
  • impacted wisdom teeth – your growing wisdom teeth can’t break through the surface of your gum and get stuck

Preparing for tooth removal

Our dentist will explain how to prepare for your procedure. They will ask about your dental and medical history. It is important that you mention any medical conditions, allergies or recent surgery, as well as any medicines you are taking.

If you are having your tooth (or teeth) removed by a dentist, you will usually have a local anaesthetic to completely block pain in your gums. You will remain awake during the procedure and be aware of what is happening at all times. Our dentist will discuss with you what will happen before, during and after your procedure, including any pain you might have. If you are unsure about anything, please do feel free to ask us as no question is too small. It is very important that you feel fully informed and are happy to give your consent for the procedure to go ahead. You will be asked to do this by signing a consent form.

What happens during tooth removal?

Our dentist will check that you are sitting comfortably in the chair. They will inject a local anaesthetic into the area around the tooth or teeth before starting the procedure. Once our dentist has injected the local anaesthetic, they will wait a few minutes to allow the injection to work. Then they will ask you a few questions to see if it is taking effect.

The roots of your tooth sit in a hole, called a socket, in your gum.  Our dentist will widen your tooth socket and gently rock your tooth from side to side until it is loose enough to pull out.

You will feel some pressure in your mouth, but our dentist will help to relieve any discomfort you may feel. If you do feel any pain, it is important to tell the dentist straight away.

What to expect afterwards

Your gum may bleed for a few minutes after the procedure, but the dentist will give you a piece of soft padding to bite on to stop the bleeding. You will be able go home once this bleeding has stopped.

Having a general anaesthesic or sedative affects everyone differently. You may find that you are not so coordinated or that it is difficult to think clearly, however this should pass within 24 hours. In the meantime do not drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery or sign anything important, and always follow your dentist or surgeon’s advice.

Before you go home, our dentist will give you advice about looking after your teeth and gums. They may recommend painkillers and an antibacterial mouthwash, or prescribe some antibiotics to reduce your chances of developing an infection. Usually you will not need a follow-up appointment after you have had a tooth removed unless there was some difficulty. In this case, our dentist will use a follow up appointment to check that your mouth is healing well.

What are the side-effects of having a tooth removed?

After your tooth is removed, you may have some side-effects which should mostly be temporary. These include a likeliness to have some discomfort and swelling in your mouth for a few days after the procedure. Using an ice pack, or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, over your jaw for the first day will help to reduce the swelling. Your jaw may feel a little stiff at times, and as this may last for a couple of weeks, it is important not to force your jaw open.

You might also notice some bleeding for a day or two. The blood will be mixed with your saliva and so can appear to be more than there actually is. If you do think that you are bleeding heavily, please contact your dentist.