People visit their dentists for one of two reasons, a regular check up or to deal with a dental problem.  Regular and routine care of your teeth indicates in general, a lower rate of fillings or tooth extraction. (Source: aihw.gov.au, Oral Health and Dental Care in Australia Key Facts and figures trends, 2014) However, it may still be necessary to have a tooth extracted from time to time. In this article, we have outlined the 6 basic facts you need to know about this process.

  1. It is not as painful as it sounds

Often, the most discomfort you will feel is when the dentist numbs the area around the tooth. One or maybe more injections will be made into the gum to freeze or numb the tissue and this will be allowed to take effect before the extraction begins.

  1. The procedure should be treated with due importance

Usually, the patient will drive themselves to and from their dentist in Blackburn. Practitioners recommend, however, that if undergoing a tooth extraction procedure, it is not to be taken lightly and that someone should attend with you in order to be able to drive you home afterwards. You may have to hold a cloth or tissue near the mouth or as the numbing effect of the injection wears off, the discomfort felt will detract from your concentration behind the wheel. A patient needs to take care of themselves and having a support mechanism in place is important during the after care.

  1. There are different reasons to extract a tooth

Your dentist will have discussed all the pros and cons before deciding to extract a tooth. Most of us think that having a tooth pulled is because it has decayed to a point where fillings or repair is not possible. This is true to a certain extent but there a few other common reasons for extraction.

If you suffer damage to a tooth such as a crack, this can normally be repaired, other problems could be fixed using root canal treatment. However, if the damage is so extensive (due to a traumatic event such as a car accident or severe sports injury for example) that the root portion of the tooth is cracked, then it will probably have to be extracted.

Other reasons for pulling a tooth could be because of an internal infection which if not picked up quickly and treated, can damage the pulp of the tooth. Also, serious gum disease is a factor in tooth removal, if the disease is bad enough to cause teeth to become loose or move.

  1. You will need to provide information about your medical history

The dentist will need to cover details about any pre-existing medical conditions as this can impact on the recovery and aftercare. There are certain conditions that could give rise to complications so make sure that the dentist is aware, particularly if you fall under the following category:

  • If you are a smoker or use other tobacco
  • If you have had surgery to replace a hip joint, for example or other artificial joint
  • If you have had heart valve procedures or if you have a congenital heart defect
  • If you suffer from conditions such as diabetes or HIV as these are conditions that suppress the immune system
  • If you are a heavy drinker or have liver problems

Having any of the above does not mean that you cannot undergo tooth extraction, but you need to ensure you have discussed this with your dentist.

  1. During the extraction

The dentist will widen the tooth socket and then gently start to loosen the tooth before removing it. You will be sitting back in the dental chair and will feel pressure as the tooth is extracted. The dentist might have to put a stitch, in the hole left by the tooth, to help it heal but this may not be needed.

  1. Care for the tooth after extraction

Once the tooth has been removed, it is important to keep the socket as clean as possible to allow it to heal. You will be asked to bite down gently on a gauze pad to stop the bleeding allowing a clot to form. You will be able to take painkillers, if you feel discomfort as the numbness from the injection wears off, but you will be advised not to rinse out your mouth for 24 hours and avoid certain types of drink and food.

For further advice and support, your local dentist practitioners are your first port of call.