If a tooth becomes unrestorable, then it may need to be extracted. The tooth is usually extracted at the practice under local anaestheic. Complicated extractions may need to be referred to an oral surgeon.
Having a tooth out is the same as having an operation and, because of this, you must look after the area to speed healing and to reduce the risk of infection. Here are some pointers:
For the first 24 hours, try to avoid eating hot food, don’t smoke, don’t drink any alcohol and try not to disturb any blood clot which might have formed. Don’t rinse your mouth for six hours after extraction. After that, rinse gently with warm salty water – half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water is enough.
Brush your teeth as normal to keep your mouth as clean as possible.
You may feel some small pieces of bone work their way out of the socket – don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.
There may be some swelling and a bit of discomfort in the first two to three days. If you need to, take some ordinary painkillers – aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetomol will be fine. If you feel pain immediately after the tooth has been removed, it might be where the blood clot has broken down leaving an empty hole in the gum. This is called a ‘dry socket’ and will need to be looked at by your dentist. Simply go back and the dentist will pack the wound to ease your discomfort.
Your dentist may have given you some gauze to place onto the area where the tooth has been removed – if not, a clean cloth handkerchief will do just as well (but not a paper tissue). Roll it into a small firm pad large enough to fit over the gap (probably around 1cm by 3cm). Sit up and gently clear away any blood clots around the gap using the gauze or hanky.
Put a clean pad over the gap (from tongue side to cheek side) and bite down on it firmly for 10 to 15 minutes.
Take the pad off and check whether the bleeding has stopped. If not, apply a fresh pad and contact your dentist.