“Dr Tse, does tooth extraction hurt?” As a dentist, this is a question I hear very often. Patients with a severely fractured tooth, extensive tooth decay, tooth trauma, or a problematic wisdom tooth may need a tooth extraction. Many of my patients want to know how much discomfort tooth extraction causes. Due to modern dentistry practises, my team and I use cutting-edge technology and techniques to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure.
Tooth Extraction: Why It’s Sometimes Necessary
A tooth extraction may be necessary due to infection, trauma, decay, or disease. While my primary goal is to preserve your natural teeth (our motto is: “We Fight For Teeth”), some infections or injuries may necessitate that a tooth is removed. In fact, leaving a tooth that needs extraction in your mouth can cause far more discomfort and overall damage.
For example, impacted wisdom teeth and partially impacted wisdom teeth can cause serious complications if they are not removed. Impacted wisdom teeth might become infected, push against other teeth, or ruin the alignment of your smile.
A tooth extraction helps to prevent discomfort and decayed or infected teeth from affecting your gums, bone and other neighboring teeth.
A Modern Approach to Tooth Extraction
Modern dentistry improves patient comfort and relaxation during procedures such as tooth extraction.
At Tooth Crusader, I provide all my patients with a local anaesthetic and the choice of sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry does not make the patient unconscious.
Twilight Sedation techniques are offered to all our patients and is performed by Dr Quiken Bao, who is a clinical physician. It is a gentle way to help a patient through the extraction procedure.
What to Expect During the Procedure
When it comes to tooth extraction, most patients have two questions:
“Does tooth extraction hurt?” and “What can I expect during and after the procedure?”
Firstly I administer the local anaesthetic, then using forceps, I gently rock the tooth back and forth to loosen it. You may feel some pressure but no pain at this stage, but you should be numb at the site due to the local anaesthetic so won’t experience any discomfort.
For complex extractions, which are typically partially or fully impacted, and the tooth may be below the gum line. I make a small incision in your gum and remove any bone that is blocking the tooth. I may break or cut the tooth into sections for easy removal and for your comfort. Complex extractions typically require sutures.
After I remove the tooth from your mouth, I give you a gauze pad to bite down upon. This helps a blood clot form which protects the nerves, tissue, and bone in the tooth socket. You must hold this firmly in place for about 30 minutes and repeat until the bleeding abates.
Maximising Your Comfort Post-Operation
You might experience some swelling or tenderness after your extraction. This is normal and to be expected: swelling is part of the body’s natural healing process, bringing nutrients and antibodies to a wound site to speed up recovery.
Take the medications I suggest or prescribe and focus on relaxing and recovering for at least one full day after the operation.
For the first 24 hours, avoid rinsing, using a straw, or spitting in order to avoid dislodging the blood clot. Avoid smoking and tobacco products for 5-7 days to keep the wound site clean. Smoking can also dislodge the blood clot, which can lead to a condition called dry socket where the nerves and bone are exposed.
For the first week, ease back into activity slowly and eat soft foods such as soup, broth, soft-boiled or poached eggs, pudding, and yoghurt. Prop your head up above your heart level with pillows to further minimise swelling and speed up healing.
To clean your mouth, use a salt water rinse (½ teaspoon of salt in 250ml of warm water) starting a day after your surgery. This will sanitise the extraction site as well as clear the site of any debris. Brush and floss as normal after 2-3 days but be careful to avoid the extraction site: you don’t want to disrupt the blood clot or the healing process.
These steps are essential for minimising your discomfort and getting back to your normal routine. I schedule a check-up to remove any sutures if necessary and check on your healing in 10-14 days.
The Final Word
At Tooth Crusader, I understand the questions you may have about tooth extractions, and my goal is to help my patients feel relaxed and to perform the procedure with minimal discomfort. When you are ready, we can discuss your options for tooth replacement to restore your smile and your confidence.
Contact me on (02) 8203 8750 to ask any questions, schedule an appointment, or discuss your dental concerns.