Tooth Extractions

Picture of a tooth with dental tools

Why extract teeth?

  • Tooth Decay. Tooth decay is caused by acid in bacteria that eats away your tooth, resulting in the softening of tooth enamel. The decay can affect your dental pulp (blood vessels and nerve vessels that keep the tooth alive), causing a tooth infection. While doing a root canal treatment and placing a crown over the tooth can save it, in some instances, there may not be enough healthy tooth structure to support a dental crown. In such cases, the diseased tooth may have to be removed instead.
  • Gum Disease. Gum disease is common among individuals with poor oral hygiene or are undergoing medical treatments that make them more susceptible to gum disease. If the gum disease escalates, the surrounding support of the tooth decays, resulting in a shaky tooth. To prevent the disease from worsening, infected teeth may need to be extracted.
  • Crowding. Crowding occurs when there is insufficient space in your jaws to fit all your teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth may also cause crowding. These wisdom teeth may emerge partially or are fully buried under the bone due to a lack of space in the jaw. If not removed, they can cause a gum infection, decay on the wisdom tooth or decay on the tooth next to the wisdom tooth. In recent years, stress has been a significant factor in crowding for adults.
  • Swelling/trauma. Some swelling or trauma associated with teeth could be due to infections or cysts. To prevent the growth or cyst from recurring, the infected tooth has to be removed.

What happens during teeth extractions?

  • Simple Extractions. Local anaesthesia is most commonly used to numb the tooth. The dentist will use forceps to dislodge the tooth and remove it from the socket. Patients will have to apply a gauze pack to speed up the clotting of the blood and some oral pain killers will be prescribed.
  • Surgical Extractions. A minor surgical procedure might be carried out for wisdom teeth or teeth that are severely broken down. During such procedures, the dentist cuts open the gum to divide the tooth or remove obstructing bone. This can be done under local anaesthesia, general anaesthesia or I.V. sedation.
An illustration of tooth extraction

Do milk teeth need to be extracted?

Milk teeth will naturally fall out or can be removed relatively easily at home. However, milk teeth that are decayed or diseased must be removed immediately to avoid affecting adult teeth underneath.

Is tooth extraction painful?

Many patients fear extracting their tooth as they are afraid of the pain. However, anaesthetic will be administered prior to the extraction so patients will not feel any pain during the procedure. They may hear sounds or feel some pressure. For patients who absolutely cannot be awake during the tooth extraction, they can choose to undergo the extraction under sedation.

What are the risks of tooth extraction?

Minor pain, bleeding, swelling and discomfort after a tooth extraction is normal. however, seek help immediately if the bleeding doesn’t stop after 2 hours or if there is an increase in pain 1 or 2 days later. This could be an indication of dry socket, which can be very painful.

How long does it take for the pain to stop?

To manage the pain better, your dentist might advise you to take painkillers before the effects of anaesthesia wears off. Most discomfort tapers off quickly and patients can resume daily activities by the 2nd or 3rd day if there’s no swelling.


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