Facts About Pulling a Tooth
General Dentistry

Facts About Pulling a Tooth

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Sometimes, extracting a tooth is the only way to prevent serious problems

3 minute read

Dentists will always recommend trying to save a decayed, infected or damaged tooth if possible, but if a tooth is beyond saving (for example, if it is broken beneath the gumline), extracting the tooth is usually better than leaving it where it is. There can even be situations where extracting a healthy tooth is necessary as part of a wider treatment plan.

Tooth removal is a routine dental procedure, but it can sometimes be complex. Your dentist will make sure you know what to expect during the process and your recovery. They will also discuss options for replacing the tooth, explaining why it’s important to restore full functionality to a smile. 

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When is tooth removal needed?

Your dentist might recommend pulling a tooth for a number of reasons, including:

Wisdom teeth are the most likely teeth to be extracted. They can cause a number of problems if they partially erupt or become stuck (impacted) in the gum and there isn't enough space in the jaw for more teeth to come through. 

What happens when a tooth is extracted?

Pulling a tooth may be a straightforward or more complex procedure, depending on the type and condition of the tooth. Tooth extractions are performed under local anaesthetic and sometimes accompanied by sedation when appropriate. 

For most general extractions, your dentist will use a tool known as an elevator to gently loosen the tooth in the gum before removing it with forceps. If there is any bleeding, your dentist may ask you to bite down on soft gauze until it stops.

For more complex extractions, such as removing an impacted wisdom tooth, your dentist may need to make an incision in the gum and break up the tooth before removing it in smaller pieces, along with surrounding bone. Any bacterial infection will be removed and your gum will be stitched closed. 

Is tooth removal painful?

Dental problems that require a tooth to be pulled can have painful symptoms, but the removal itself isn't normally painful, as your dentist will apply anaesthesia during the procedure.

Most extractions use local anaesthetic to numb the part of the mouth being treated. If you feel any pain when the anaesthesia wears off, this can be relieved by taking painkillers or other remedies for pain relief.

Your dentist may offer additional sedation options or sleep dentistry if:

  • you're having a more complex surgical removal
  • you're having multiple teeth removed
  • you have a resistance to local anaesthesia
  • you have dental anxiety or other fears and need help to feel calm

 Got questions about dental sedation? Contact the team at EVP Dental today.

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What to expect after an extraction

It can take 1 to 2 weeks for the gum to fully heal after a tooth is removed. Your dentist may advise: 

  • eating soft foods and not eating with that side of your mouth for a few days
  • avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol and strenuous physical activity for 24 hours
  • not touching the wound while it's healing, as this may disturb the blood clot
  • using prescribed antibiotics to prevent the risk of an infection from developing

If you're having sedation such as oral sedatives, intravenous (IV) sedation or general anaesthesia during your procedure, this will affect your recovery period.

Contact your dentist if you have any unexpected complications such as ongoing pain or bleeding or possible signs of infection. 

Should I replace a tooth?

Broken tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant
A broken tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant

Losing a tooth can be upsetting and can affect more than how you look, depending on where it's located and how many teeth are missing. Complications of missing teeth can include:

  • Difficulty eating, which can impact on diet, nutrition and health
  • Difficulty speaking, which can impact on confidence
  • Orthodontic issues if surrounding teeth shift, become crooked or no longer bite together properly
  • Excessive tooth wear if you rely on teeth opposite the gap for chewing food
  • Jaw joint pain if your bite patterns change as a result of tooth removal
  • Bone loss in the jaw or face surrounding a tooth, which can lead to a sunken or aged appearance

To prevent these problems and others, dentists recommend replacing a tooth after an extraction as soon as possible. The most common teeth replacement options are:

You will usually have to wait a few weeks for your gum to fully heal before your dentist can take impressions of your mouth and begin the process of tooth replacement, but treatments can replace teeth immediately after removal, such as immediate dental implants.

Dental implant

Dental implants replace the roots of teeth to support the jaw bone and provide more stability for a crown, fixed bridge or denture. Placing an implant involves minor oral surgery, but once successfully bonded with the jaw, it can usually last a lifetime with good care.

In some cases, the dentist is able to remove a tooth and immediately place an implant in the same surgery. Immediate implants help to fast-track the healing process and help to preserve the jawbone. If you’re having a tooth removed at the front of the mouth, it may be possible to attach a crown to the implant, so you won’t go home with a missing tooth. Find out more about immediate implants by Principal Dentist, Dr David Norcross.

Dental bridge

A dental bridge is a fixed prosthetic tooth or teeth that fills a gap between healthy teeth above the gum. Bridges rely on their surrounding teeth for support, which may involve removing some enamel and placing crowns over these teeth.

Partial denture

Partial dentures can be designed to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth as needed. They are usually removable and clip on to neighbouring teeth or a dental implant for more support. Dentures require special care and need to be cleaned daily.

How can I avoid losing a tooth?

You can't always avoid accidents, but you can lower your risk of losing a tooth to decay or injuries by:

  • Keeping up a good brushing and flossing routine
  • Limiting sugar in your diet to help prevent decay
  • Visiting the dentist every 6 to 12 months for a check-up and clean
  • Wearing a custom-made mouthguard when playing contact sports
  • Contacting a dentist as soon as possible if you have a dental emergency

Removal and teeth replacement in East Victoria Park

Our dentists in East Vic Park will do everything we can to save a tooth, but if you need an extraction, you'll be in safe hands with our experienced team.

To find out more or make an appointment at our clinic, call EVP Dental today on (08) 9470 3944 or book online.

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  1. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tooth-extraction
  2. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/surgery/removing-wisdom-teeth