Don’t let tooth pain take over your life.
If your teeth have been hurting or feel extra sensitive for a while, it could be several reasons, so it’s best to visit your dentist as soon as possible before it worsens.
Why do I need to have a tooth removed?
You may need a tooth removed for one or more of the following reasons.
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Dental abscess
- Failed root-canal treatment
- Over-eruption – A tooth can grow out too far and damage the cheek or gum
- Medical reasons
However, if you have been avoiding your dentist due to fearing it, there are many ways of solving the fear of the dentist.
Are there any alternatives to removing a tooth?
Simple painkillers such as paracetamol can help control mild pain and antibiotics can help with infection. Sometimes root-canal treatment will help to treat infection and pain. Depending on how damaged your tooth is, your dentist may be able to rebuild it with a filling or crown.
What does the procedure involve?
Most teeth are removed under a local anaesthetic that is injected around your tooth to numb it. The procedure can take up to 40 minutes. Your dentist will loosen and remove your tooth with instruments called 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 your tooth, removing bone around your tooth and dividing your tooth with a drill.
What complications can happen?
It is good to bear in mind the possible complications involved when a tooth is removed.
- Swelling and bruising
- Dry socket
- Retained roots, where it is not possible to remove the whole tooth
- Damage to nearby teeth
- Broken jaw
- Not being able to open your mouth fully(trismus) and jaw stiffness
- Sinus problems
- Damage to nerves
- Osteonecrosis, a rare condition where tissue in your jawbone starts to die
How soon will I recover?
In order to reduce the risk of bleeding, swelling and bruising, do not exercise, drink alcohol or have a hot bath for 1 week. Depending on the difficulty of the procedure and the risk of infection, you may be given antibiotics. Try to leave your wound alone for 1 to 2 days. Then rinse your mouth gently with hot, salty water four times a day for the next 2 days. You should be able to return to normal activities within a week. Most people make a full recovery.
Teeth can sometimes cause serious problems, which is why you should never put it off. Removing a tooth is usually a safe and effective way to prevent your symptoms from coming back.
Author: Mr Andrew Sidebottom FDSRCS FRCS
Illustrator: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com