We endeavour to retain teeth where possible, but extractions are needed when:
- Teeth are badly broken down due to decay or trauma and are beyond repair
- For orthodontic reasons
- Due to crowding
- Due to infections, including gum disease
- To help with the overall treatment plan, which may include dentures or implants
Most routine extractions can be done very effectively in the practice with local anaesthesia. For more complex extractions or for patients who are anxious, referral to a specialist for treatment under general anaesthesia may be needed.
What to expect
Before pulling the tooth, your dentist will give you an injection of a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed.
If the tooth is impacted, the dentist will cut away gum and bone tissue that cover the tooth and then, using forceps, grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it from the jaw bone and ligaments that hold it in place. Sometimes, a hard-to-pull tooth must be removed in pieces.
Oral hygiene tips after extractions
- Do not rinse your mouth for at least six hours after extraction
- Do not disturb the blood clots by sucking or putting fingers in the mouth
- Continue to gently brush teeth as it is important to keep the mouth clean. However, care must be taken not to disturb the surgical site(s)
- Frequent warm salty mouth soaks will speed recovery by removing debris in the socket, especially the morning after the extraction. This should continue for one to two weeks
- Alcohol and smoking should be avoided for seven days
- Food and non-alcoholic fluids can be taken freely according to your tolerance, but hot substances should be avoided for the rest of the day
- Be careful not to bite the numbed cheek, lip or tongue
- Following surgical procedures, there may be local swelling which reaches a maximum in two to three days, after which it should subside gradually
- Post-operative pain is best controlled by regular use of painkillers
- There may be some bleeding following the extraction. If this persists, place a tightly rolled gauze pad over the wound and bite firmly for 20 minutes
If there are any concerns, advice can be sought by calling Dr Heilberg during opening hours. Weekend and after hours emergency contact is available for complications, including pain and bleeding following tooth extractions.