One of the least popular procedures performed at any dental clinic, but often one of the most necessary, is the emergency tooth extraction. Dental extractions – the removal of teeth from the mouth – are performed for a variety of reasons, including tooth decay, impacted wisdom teeth, the application of orthodontics, periodontal disease, trauma damage, and specific medical conditions. Ultimately, your dentist will decide to remove the tooth as a means of tooth decay treatment if it is too far beyond repair, or if one or more need to be removed in order for other teeth to erupt in their correct position.
Unless you’ve been scheduled in advance for a particular reason, such as periodontal disease treatment, your dentist will first assess any affected teeth and discuss with you exactly why you might need an emergency tooth extraction. If there’s the possibility that you might have an abscess (viewable by X-ray) and need dental abscess treatment, you’ll be required to take a course of antibiotics prior to the extraction procedure.
You’ll be asked about your medical history and will need to disclose all medications you’re currently taking, as some medications can lead to complications with extractions.
For those who experience anxiety at the dentist, please let us know, as we can sedate you prior to the molar tooth extraction procedure.
Typically there are two types of extraction methods used, with the preferred option largely dependent on the location of the tooth.
For dental extractions where the tooth can be easily seen, we opt for a simple extraction. A molar tooth extraction, for example, would involve administering a local anaesthetic which numbs the area around the tooth. The dentist will then grab hold of the tooth using forceps, moving them back and forth in order to loosen and extract the tooth.
For the extraction of teeth that exist below the gum or are only partially showing, a surgical extraction will be necessary. The dentist numbs the area around the tooth with a local anaesthetic before making a small incision to the gum. They pull the gum back to reveal the root or the tooth in its entirety before using the same procedure as a simple extraction to remove the tooth.
Upon completion of the emergency tooth extraction, the dentist temporarily fills the gap with a sterile cotton swab. You will need to bite on the swab until the bleeding has finished and a blood clot has formed in the socket were the tooth used to be. Do not disturb this blood clot by rinsing vigorously or poking it with your tongue or finger, as it is a very important part of the healing process. Disturbing the blood clot can cause it not to form correctly, which can lead to a very painful condition known as dry socket.
If the socket continues to bleed after leaving the clinic, remove the swab from the extraction site and replace it with a clean tissue or handkerchief. Once again, apply pressure by biting down – the bleeding should stop within minutes. Again, do NOT disturb the blood clot. If the bleeding continues, please get in touch with your dentist for further advice.
You’ll likely still experience numbness in the mouth for an hour or so after the local anaesthetic has worn off. Please try to avoid biting your cheek or tongue or burning your mouth when drinking hot liquids.
Once the anaesthetic has worn off, if you’re still experiencing discomfort, take a household painkiller (headache tablet). Don’t take Aspirin, as this can cause the socket to bleed. You should also avoid smoking and alcohol for 24 hours after an emergency tooth extraction, as these can have a negative effect on the healing process