A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. Tooth extractions are a common dental procedure but can often cause a lot of anxiety for patients. Being better informed about the extraction procedure and what to expect afterwards can often relieve some of this anxiety and help you to be better prepared for the treatment.

The most common reasons a tooth will require extraction are:

  • Trauma to the tooth following a knock to the jaw from a sporting injury or fall.
  • Deep decay or severe gum disease in a tooth.
  • Not enough space for the teeth.

In some cases, extraction may be the only treatment option available however in other cases, alternative treatment options may be available. The dentists here at Wise will discuss any alternative treatment options with you prior to any extraction.

Tooth extractions can be divided into two categories: Simple Extractions and Surgical Extractions.

Simple extractions

These are extractions performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth.

What does the procedure involve?

The procedure is generally performed in the dental chair whilst the patient is awake.

It involves application of local anaesthetic injection to anaesthetise the tooth that will be removed. Pressure is then applied to the tooth to loosen it within its socket. Once the tooth is loose, forceps are applied, and the tooth is further loosened until it can be lifted out of the socket.

In some cases, the tooth may fracture during the procedure in which case the dentist may need to remove the remaining fragment separately. This can sometimes be performed non-surgically, but at times a simple extraction may turn into a surgical extraction. In some circumstances, the dentist may choose to leave the fragment in place. Simple extractions may, on occasion, also involve the division of the tooth into parts prior to extraction to help the tooth come out more easily.

Does it hurt?

The patient feels a lot of pressure in the area as the tooth is being extracted but generally does not feel any pain. There may be some jaw discomfort from keeping the mouth open for a long period of time but frequent opportunities to rest the jaw during the procedure tends to minimise this discomfort.

What is the expected recovery time?

Recovery time following a simple extraction can vary widely but it generally takes a few days for patients to feel back to normal. Full healing will take several weeks. Some things to remember:

  • Your dentist will ask you not to rinse or spit on the day of the extraction as this can lead to early loss of the blood clot and delay the healing process.
  • Smoking on the day of extractions and the days following can also lead to early loss of the blood clot and to a condition known as dry socket where normal healing is interrupted.
  • A patient can generally eat normally on the day of the extraction but in some cases a soft diet may be required for 24-48 hours following the extraction.
  • To help prevent infection, your dentist might also ask you to rinse with warm saltwater several times a day for 4-5 days starting the day after your extraction.

Will my private health insurance cover the cost?

If you have private health insurance, it may cover some of the cost of your extraction, Depending on your level of cover. Waiting periods and annual limits apply for health fund holders for under 12 months.

Surgical Extractions

Surgical extractions are those that are performed on teeth that are not easily accessible, such as when teeth are broken under the gum line or only partially erupted. Wisdom teeth removal is also generally a surgical procedure as these are often removed whilst they are still below the gum.

How is the procedure performed?

Our dentists here at Wise dental can perform surgical extractions and they can be performed either under local anaesthesia in the dental chair whilst the patient is awake or under IV sedation. Whether the procedure is performed under local anaesthesia or IV Sedation will depend on patient and practitioner preference.

What does the procedure involve?

Surgical extractions involve an incision made to the gum and may or may not require the removal of bone surrounding the tooth to provide access to the tooth. The tooth is then removed in a procedure like a simple extraction. Sometimes the tooth may also need to be divided into parts to allow it to be removed more easily. Once the tooth is removed, the gum will require sutures to keep it in place as it heals.

What is the expected recovery time?

Recovery time following a surgical extraction can vary greatly but is generally longer than a simple extraction. There is more likely to be some swelling and you are more likely to need to limit your activities (e.g. take time off work) for at least the first 24 hours following the surgery. Instructions for aftercare are generally the same as for simple extractions but a soft food diet and pain relief is more likely to be required for a few days following the extraction. Full healing is also likely to take longer, particularly if there has been bone removal.

Will the cost be covered by my private health insurance?

The cost of a surgical extraction can vary widely depending on whether it is performed under local or IV sedation and whether bone removal or tooth division is required.

If you have private health insurance, it may cover some of the cost of your procedure. Depending on the level of your cover, waiting periods and annual limits apply