Frequently asked questions

At Family Dental Centre we know that natural is best. Keeping your own teeth is always first-prize, and we will always do our best to make that happen.

Just like you cannot build a house on a foundation of chip-board, sometimes the natural tooth has been decayed to the point that building a beautiful tooth on top just doesn’t make sense – it can’t last, because the foundation is not strong.

At times like these the solution is to remove the offending tooth. This allows the body to heal without harbouring harmful bacteria, causing inflammation and pain. It also prevents the needless destruction of healthy jaw bone which is important to keep if you want to replace the tooth you’re going to remove.

Why are teeth extracted?

Teeth are extracted to remove a source of actual or potential bacterial infection which can cause significant discomfort. This is done for teeth which are either hopelessly broken down and therefore unrestorable, unresponsive to conventional therapy or because a patient no longer wishes to keep it.

Extractions are psychologically daunting to patients but seldom turn out to be as bad as they feared. At The Family Dental Centre, your dentist will first assess the situation, by means of a clinical examination and an x-ray. He will then discuss his diagnosis with you and give you the possible options for treatment. Once extraction has been decided on, he will apply a topical anaesthetic jelly to numb the surface of the gum. After this has taken effect, the tooth, bone and gums will be numbed using a local anaesthetic.

Depending on the circumstances, the tooth will then be removed with as little trauma as possible, either conventionally or surgically. Neither of these two options involve pain, although the process differs slightly.

At the Family Dental Centre we always remove teeth as atraumatically as possible so as to preserve the maximum amount of bone in case you ever wish to replace the tooth with a dental implant, bridge or removable denture.

How long does an extraction take?

This really depends on the tooth being extracted and the health of the bone and gum supporting the tooth. In general single tooth extractions take between a few seconds and about 30 minutes. Most of the time the dentist will be able to give you an indication beforehand regarding how challenging he expects the procedure to be.

Will it hurt?

There is no reason for an dental procedure to be painful nowadays. Sometimes, if an acute infection is present, this can interfere with the anaesthetic and your dentist may recommend a course of antibiotics prior to pulling the tooth. This is not common with our modern anaesthetics however.

How long will my recovery take?

Different people respond differently, but usually you will have some discomfort for about 3 days following an extraction. If you follow the post-op instructions you are given and make use of the painkillers your dentist prescribes, the pain is usually minimal and does not significantly impact on daily activities.

What to do after having a tooth pulled

After a Tooth Extraction: Caring for Your Mouth:

When you’ve had a tooth extracted (removed), you need to take care of your mouth. Doing certain things, even on the first day, may help you to feel better and heal faster.

Control Bleeding

To help control bleeding, bite firmly on the gauze placed by your dentist. The pressure helps to form a clot in the tooth socket. If you have a lot of bleeding, bite on a regular tea bag. The tannic acid in the tea aids in forming a blood clot. Bite on the gauze or the tea bag until the bleeding stops (wait about 15 minutes before checking). Slight oozing of the blood on the first day or two is normal.

Minimise pain

To lessen any pain, take prescribed medication as directed. Don’t drive while taking any pain medication as you may feel drowsy. Ask your dentist if you may take over-the-counter medication, if needed.

Reduce swelling

To reduce swelling, put an ice pack on your cheek near the extraction site. You can make an ice pack by putting ice in a plastic bag and wrapping it in a thin towel. Apply the ice pack to your cheek for 10 minutes. Then, remove it for 5 minutes. Repeat as needed. You may see some bruising on your face. This is normal and will go away on its own.

Get enough rest

Limit activities for the first 24 hours after an extraction. Rest during the day and go to bed early. When lying down elevate your head slightly and consider covering your pillow with a towel on the first night to protect the pillow.

Things that are a good idea

Eat a diet of soft, healthy foods and snacks. It may be easier for your to eat soft foods soon after your extraction. Also drink plenty of liquids.

Do brush your teeth gently. Avoid bruising around the extraction socket. Don’t use any toothpaste for the first day or two. Rinsing toothpaste from your mouth may dislodge the blood clot.

Do keep the extraction site clean. After 24 hours you may be able to gently rinse your mouth. Rinse 3 times a day with 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water.

Things that may hinder recovery

 Below are some things to avoid while you’re healing.

Don’t drink with a straw. Sucking on a straw may dislodge the clot.

Don’t drink hot liquids. Hot liquids may increase swelling and bleeding. Limit your alcohol use. Excessive use of alcohol may slow healing.

Don’t smoke. Smoking may break down the clot and constrict blood vessels leading to a painful “dry  socket”.

Contact Your Dentist If:

         Pain does not decrease significantly after 3 days or gets worse.

         Bleeding becomes hard to control.

         Itching or rashes occur after you take your medication.

CAUTION: Rinse your mouth very gently. Otherwise the blood clot may be dislodged.