The very mention of tooth extraction can appear quite scary for most patients, so it’s hardly surprising that we’re often asked, “does tooth extraction hurt?”
At Dental 266 we do everything in our power to save a patient’s tooth but sometimes, if there is simply too much damage for us to repair, tooth extraction is the only option. However, we’ll talk you through all your options during your consultation.
There are several reasons that you may need to have a tooth extracted. These include:
- Severe gum disease (periodontitis)
- A broken tooth that is beyond repair
- Deep tooth decay
- Crowded teeth – when your jaw is too small to accommodate all your teeth
- An abscess around your teeth or on your gums
- An impacted wisdom tooth
Normally our dentist will remove your tooth in the surgery using a local anaesthetic, so you shouldn’t feel any pain. However, if the extraction is more complex, then an oral surgeon may carry out the procedure in a hospital setting using a general anaesthetic. Either way, your shouldn’t feel any wisdom tooth pain during the extraction process.
Preparing for tooth extraction
Prior to any type of dental extraction, we will discuss your dental and medical history. It’s important that you mention any allergies, recent surgery, or medical conditions that you suffer from, as well as letting us know if you’re taking any prescription medicines.
The tooth extraction procedure – what to expect
Once you’re sitting comfortably you’ll be given a local anaesthetic into the area around the affected tooth which will take a few minutes to kick in.
If the tooth is impacted (lodged in the gum) then the dentist will gently cut away any bone and gum tissue that’s covering it. Forceps will then be used to grip the tooth and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it from the bone and ligaments holding it in place.
In terms of discomfort, it’s normal to feel some pressure while this is taking place, but it shouldn’t hurt. If a tooth is proving difficult to pull, then sometimes it’s broken into smaller pieces and removed.
Once the tooth has been removed a blood clot will form in the empty socket.
A gauze pad will be packed into the socket and you’ll be asked to bite down on it to help stop the bleeding.
On occasions, a few self-dissolving stitches are placed to close the edges of the gums over the extraction site.
That’s the worse bit over with and now you’re free to go home. If you’ve had a sedative or general anaesthetic, then it will take a while for the effects to wear off. Ask a family member or friend if they’re able to take you home.
It normally takes a couple of days for a full recovery.
Once you arrive home, we recommend the following to help minimise any discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and promote a speedy recovery:
- Take any painkillers that your dentist has recommended or prescribed
- Bite down firmly on the gauze pad to help the blood clot form in the socket and reduce bleeding. If the gauze becomes soaked through with blood, change it for a clean one and leave it in place for up to 3 hours.
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area right away to keep down swelling and keep it in place for 10 minutes at a time.
- Refrain from rinsing or spitting with force for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the blood clot that has formed in the socket.
- Take rest for at least 24 hours and avoid any strenuous activity for the next few days.
- Do not smoke as this can impact healing.
- Avoid drinking through a straw for 24 hours.
- Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash or warm salt water after 24 hours have elapsed.
- Eat a diet of soft foods such as soup, yoghurt, and scrambled eggs the day after the extraction. You can introduce more solid foods as the extraction site continues to heal.
- When laying down keep your head propped up as laying flat can prolong bleeding.
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth but avoid the extraction site to help prevent infection. You can also try using a water flosser instead of the traditional string floss.
It’s normal to feel some discomfort and mild pain as the anaesthetic wears off but if you have severe pain or bleeding more than 4 hours after your tooth has been pulled, then call your dentist for further advice.
Usually, the healing period lasts for one to two weeks and during that time, new bone and tissue will grow into the gap. To avoid your other teeth shifting and causing bite problems, you might want to discuss replacing the tooth with an implant or bridge.
Hopefully this has answered the question ‘does tooth extraction hurt?’ and what patients can expect during and after the process.
If you think you may need a tooth extraction then why not come and talk through your options with the team at Dental 266. Contact us today on (02) 9051 0600 to book an appointment.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.