Oral Surgery in Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Charlbury Dental Practice
The Spendlove Centre, Enstone Road, Charlbury, Oxfordshire OX7 3PQ

General Dentistry » extractions

Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. If a tooth has been broken or damaged from decay then your dentist will try to repair it with a crown, a filling, or other treatment. However there are cases where there is too much damage, decay or gum disease, in which case you may need to have your tooth extracted.

Why might I need to have a tooth extracted?

Your dentist will usually want to help you to keep your natural teeth but, for one or other of the following reasons, sometimes an extraction may be necessary:

  • A tooth may be damaged or has decayed beyond repair
  • Gum disease may have progressed too far to be able to save teeth
  • You may have extra teeth that prevent the teeth below them from erupting into the mouth
  • If you need braces you may require teeth to be extracted in order to make room for movement
  • Wisdom teeth or third molars may need extracting if they are impacted or don’t have enough room to come through; you may get pain, or infection around the tooth, and your gums may become sore or swollen. (A wisdom tooth is described as “impacted” when it gets stuck against the tooth in front so that it is at an angle.)
  • Rarely, a medical condition or treatment may require infected teeth to be extracted rather than conserved

What does an extraction involve?

Your dentist will probably take an x-ray of the area in order to plan the best way to extract the tooth. You may be prescribed antibiotics after the surgery.

If the tooth can be seen in the mouth then a simple extraction is performed. This is commonly done by your dentist, using a local anaesthetic. It usually just involves moving the tooth back and forth, using forceps until it is loose, and then pulling it out.

If the tooth to be removed is not visible in the mouth because it has not yet come in or not easily seen because it has broken off at the gum line, your dentist will have to cut and pull back the gums to gain access to remove the bone and pieces of the tooth.

What are the after effects?

The simplest extractions do not cause bothersome discomfort after the operation. You may want to take over-the-counter analgesic anti-inflammatory drugs for a couple of days.

A surgical extraction, where the gum is cut, will cause more pain than a simple extraction. The level and length of the discomfort depend on how complex and difficult the surgery was. Your dentist may prescribe some painkillers and most of the pain will go away after a few days.

After the extraction, you will be asked to bite on a piece of gauze until the bleeding has stopped. It may still ooze a little for a few hours, and may be a bit swollen. Most of the swelling and bleeding will end within a day or two after the surgery while the initial healing will take around 2 weeks.

To minimize any swelling after surgery you may want to put an ice pack on your face. If your jaw is still sore and stiff after the swelling goes away then you should use a warm compress instead. You should eat softer foods for the first week until you feel comfortable to eat other foods. After 24 hours you can gently rinse the area with warm saltwater in order to keep it clean.

If you have stitches they may dissolve in a few days, or they may need to be removed by the dentist; you will be advised which kind of stitches you have.

We will provide you with written post-operative instructions to take home with you; so you don’t have to worry about remembering everything.

What is a dry socket?

One of the common complications after tooth extractions is a “dry socket”. It happens in about 5% of extractions when a blood clot does not form in the socket or when a blood clot breaks off or breaks down too soon. If you have dry socket, the underlying bone will be exposed to air and food. This can be very painful and may cause foul odours and bad tastes.

Why does a dry socket form?

Some things are known to damage the blood clot such as excessive rinsing out and smoking. Other dry sockets occur for no obvious reason.

Can it be treated?

This condition can be very painful but is not serious and can be treated by placing a pain-relieving dressing in the socket. Antibiotics may be needed. Without treatment the socket will eventually heal but it may be painful for a week or so.

What about aftercare?

The dressing placed in the socket usually dissolves away by itself.

Refer to our post-operative instructions and contact the practice if you are at all worried about your recovery.

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