Why Are Teeth Extracted?
Most dentists will do their utmost to save natural teeth so extractions are only performed when there is no chance of saving a tooth by root canal treatment or restoration. Other possible reasons for needing a tooth extraction may include
- Advanced or severe gum disease
- Broken tooth
- Problematic wisdom teeth
- Tooth abscess
- Orthodontic reasons
Tooth decay, gum disease, wisdom teeth, abscesses and crooked teeth may all be accompanied by pain and you may be in a state of discomfort by the time you reach your dentist’s office, so it is to be expected that pain and discomfort are real concerns for the majority of patients. The good news is that your dental practitioner takes steps to manage pain and discomfort.
What To Expect Before Your Tooth Extraction?
The majority of tooth extractions are performed under local anaesthetic so that pain can be managed. Some dentists may even apply a topical numbing agent to the gums so you do not feel the needle with the anaesthetic penetrating your gum. If your dental concern is very complex (for example, if you are having all your wisdom teeth extracted at once), you may need to be put under general anaesthetic.
Once your dentist has injected your gum with anaesthetic you will wait for a few moments for it to take effect. Your dentist will ask you if you can feel a sensation in your gum before he or she gets to work. Once the anaesthetic is working, your affected tooth will be loosened in the gum before it is extracted with forceps. Very large teeth or teeth with long roots may need to be broken into smaller pieces before being extracted.
If you have to have wisdom tooth extractions, your dentist may need to cut through your gum to access the tooth.
While you might feel the force of your dentist’s tools, you should not experience pain.
What To Expect After Your Tooth Extraction?
The anaesthetic may give you some strange sensations until it wears off, and your cheeks, lips, gums or tongue may feel swollen for a few hours. Once the anaesthetic has worn off, you can expect to feel a bit of discomfort as well as experience some bleeding in your mouth. When your tooth has been removed your dentist will give you some gauze to bite down on, as the pressure will curb the bleeding.
It is very important that you keep the site of extraction clean so you avoid infection. Worsening pain or pain that starts a few days after your tooth extraction could indicate the presence of infection.
Managing Tooth Extraction Pain With Medication
For the most part, the majority of patients find any pain or discomfort after tooth extractions mild and manageable. In the event that you are not comfortable, you can take over the counter medication to manage pain in the first few days after your surgery. The site of extraction will take a week or two to heal.
How To Know If There Is A Problem?
Once your tooth extractions have been performed you should experience an improvement in your side effects in the days following. Swelling can be managed with ice and cold compresses (just do not put it in direct contact with your gums), as well as by keeping your head elevated. While you could experience some slight pain and discomfort, it should improve and not get worse.
So, Does Tooth Extraction Hurt?
The process of tooth extraction is not painful because your dental practitioner will make use of anaesthetic and give you post-surgical care instructions to assist with your healing and recovery. Post-surgical discomfort can be managed with ice, rest and pain medication, to ensure your gums heal and you avoid the unnecessary pain of infection. In addition, you might want to
- Eat on the opposite side of your mouth
- Avoid hot and cold beverages (as these can dislodge the blood clot)
- Keep the site of extraction clean and not touch it with your tongue or finger
- Avoid smoking as this can interfere with healing
- Sleep and lay down with your head elevated so that blood does not pool in your head
If you’d like a personal response to the question of ‘does tooth extraction hurt’, it’s time to get a professional opinion. Remember: early intervention is the best strategy so please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9158 6211.