Removing teeth

Removing Teeth

If you have damaged teeth or if they are severely decayed and there isn’t a way to repair them, your dentist may recommend removing teeth; although this will be the last resort, as your dentist will consider whether a crown or filling would be suffice.

Your dentist may have recommended removing one or more of your teeth for the following reason(s):

  • Severe tooth decay
  • Gum disease that will eventually cause the tooth to become loose
  • Damage caused to the tooth as a result of an accident or injury
  • Dental abscess that root-canal treatment cannot treat
  • A tooth has grown too long and may damage the cheek or gum
  • You may need more space for other teeth to grow straight
  • More extensive treatment, such as crowns, implants or bridges, may stand a better chance of success
  • Badly diseased teeth may spread infection through your bloodstream

However this is not a definitive list and reasons will vary with each patient.

What are the benefits?

Removing teeth can help with overcrowding issues – when your teeth are overcrowded this tends to cause tooth misalignments in the smile. Overcrowded teeth can also affect your oral hygiene by encouraging the development of tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems. Extracting teeth can relieve your pain and help you have a more functional smile as well as an improved oral health.

Are there any alternatives?

Depending on how severe the damage is on your tooth/teeth, root canal treatment can be beneficial as it helps treat infection and reduces tooth ache in the affected area. Another alternative may be to have a crown fitted. A crown is a tooth coloured cap that is placed to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size and strength. If a crown isn’t an option for you, your dentist may suggest a filling – there are two types of fillings either silver fillings (amalgam) or white/tooth coloured fillings which provide you with more of a natural look.

The Extraction Process

Most teeth can be removed easily, however, removing a tooth can sometimes be difficult for the following reasons:

  • Very bad decay
  • Long or curved roots
  • The tooth has not come through fully, or is in an abnormal position
  • The tooth is lying close to a nerve or sinus.

Your Dentist or Surgeon will usually take an X-ray to help find out if the procedure is going to be difficult – the procedure can take up to 40 minutes.

Your surgeon will loosen and remove the tooth with elevators and forceps. Most teeth can be loosened and removed in less than a minute; however, sometimes removing a tooth can involve cutting the gum to uncover the tooth, removing bone around the tooth and dividing the tooth with a drill. Your Dentist will discuss which procedure is suitable for you.

Once the incision has been made your gum may need to be stitched up. Your Surgeon will then place a pack made of gauze on the tooth socket. If the wound starts to bleed, bite on it for about ten minutes to stop any bleeding.

To ensure the procedure carries on as a success a few lifestyle changes may be recommended, these are:-

  • Quit smoking
  • Eating healthily (If you are overweight you have a greater chance of developing complications)
  • Exercising regularly

Possible complications

Mild pain and discomfort is common with all operations, you may experience the following:-

  • Bleeding after surgery.
  • Swelling and bruising. This is more common with lower teeth and depends on how difficult it was for the surgeon to remove the tooth
  • Infection.
  • Dry socket, where the socket does not heal well. The risk is higher if you have a lower molar tooth removed. If you get a dull throbbing pain about 48 hours after the procedure, let your Dentist know
  • Damage to nearby teeth. These can loosen during surgery and may need to be removed if they do not become firm again. Fillings or crowns can also move and these may need to be replaced
  • Damage to nerves, leading to loss of sensation or tingling in the teeth, jaw, lips, tongue and chin any damage is usually temporary.

It is important to remember, this is not a definitive list and symptoms will vary with each patient.


Most people make a full recovery without any symptoms and can return to normal activities within a week; you should be able to go home the same day. Remember, you will not be able to drive after having your teeth removed if you have been under general anaesthetic or sedation. Try to leave the wound alone for the first 24 hours. After this time, you should rinse your mouth gently with hot, salty water four times a day for the next two days.

It’s imperative you avoid any strenuous activities for the first 24 hours to reduce the risk of bleeding, swelling and bruising. Painkillers such as paracetamol should relieve any discomfort. It’s recommended for the first one to two days to eat soft foods and move on to solids only when you can chew comfortably. Try to chew using the other side of your mouth if possible. A week off work is usually needed to help the recovery process easier

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible, although you will have been given advice on this. Your surgeon may arrange for you to come back to the clinic to remove any stitches or for a check-up.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further information speak to Mark Tangri Dental today on 0333 1234 999.


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