Dental Extractions (Tooth Removals)

Dental Extractions - Tooth Removal

When it comes to dental procedures, tooth extraction — or having teeth “pulled” — is among patients’ most dreaded prospects.

Therefore, before we consider extraction, every effort will be made to try to repair and restore your tooth. However, sometimes a tooth extraction is necessary.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

Commonly Extracted Teeth – Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth removal is one of the more common categories of tooth extraction. One problem that occurs with wisdom teeth development is that it becomes an impacted tooth that has surfaced and has no room in the mouth to grow. Other problems associated with impacted teeth include infection, decay of adjacent teeth, bite interference and gum disease.

Types of Tooth Extractions

  • Simple Extractions: These are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth. Most of these extractions are usually done under a local anaesthetic, with or without anti-anxiety medications or sedation.
  • Surgical Extractions: These involve teeth that cannot easily be seen or reached in the mouth, either because they have broken off at the gum line or they have not fully erupted. This involves some bone removal, removing and/or lifting and folding back all or part of the gum tissue to expose the tooth, or breaking the tooth into pieces to ease the tooth out.


These types of extractions can be done with local anaesthesia and/or sedation. 

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Tooth Extraction Aftercare

Since bleeding is normal after an extraction, you will have to bite on a piece of gauze for about 45 minutes to put pressure on the area and allow the blood to clot. Some swelling and discomfort are normal after a tooth extraction.

Cold compresses or ice packs can help decrease the swelling. If your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling dissipates, apply warm compresses.

Sleeping with your head face upward to relieve pressure on the jaw, and keeping your head elevated with extra pillows also may help. In addition, an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (such as Nurofen) of Paracetamol can be used for several days after extraction.

Tooth extraction aftercare tips:

Things to Avoid After Tooth Extraction

In addition to the aforementioned aftercare considerations, tooth extraction aftercare also involves avoiding certain foods and activities.

Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction

Dry socket, a common complication after a tooth extraction, occurs when a blood clot has failed to form in the socket, or the blood clot that did form has been dislodged. This leaves the underlying bone and nerves exposed to air and food. Often quite painful, dry socket typically appears two to five days after extraction and can cause a bad odor or taste.

Dry socket is most frequently associated:

  • Difficult or traumatic tooth extractions
  • People over the age of 30.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits.
  • Women (particularly those taking oral contraceptives).

Unless there is an emergency, experts recommend that women using oral contraceptives schedule their extractions during the last week of their menstrual cycle, when oestrogen levels are lower.

In most cases, if you develop dry socket, a medicated dressing can be placed into the socket to soothe the pain and encourage healing. 

Healing Time After a Tooth Extraction

Healing from a tooth extraction takes about five to seven days. The gum area should be fully healed in three to four weeks and the bony socket under the gum takes several months to fully heal.