Extracting A Tooth – A Last Resort

Many dental treatments are available to restore damaged teeth, but sometimes an extraction is necessary.

One of the many reasons that we encourage our Purley patients to have six monthly dental checks, is that any problems, such as tooth decay, can usually be caught in its early stages. This will mostly mean that the tooth can be saved and preserved using a treatment such as a filling or perhaps a dental crown if damage is more extensive. Naturally, if you notice a problem in between appointments, you should contact us straight away for an appointment and not leave it until the next scheduled one.

Whilst we will always look at all possible avenues to save a natural tooth, this is not always possible and sometimes, the only available option is to remove the tooth. There are a number of reasons why we might have to do this, including:

  • Teeth too badly damaged to restore them
  • Damaged bone tissue caused by periodontitis
  • Overcrowding
  • Poor prognosis and ongoing problems for the patient
  • Impacted wisdom teeth

When you do need to have a tooth extracted, our Confidental Clinic dental team will take good care of you, making sure that the procedure is as comfortable as possible.

Having a tooth extracted

Now that a full anaesthetic is no longer used to perform this procedure, there is no need to avoid eating or drinking beforehand, Indeed, as you won’t be able to eat for a little while following the procedure, it is probably a good idea to eat something that will tide you over for a little while. Local anaesthetics are now widely used when we need to remove a tooth. These are very powerful, and, although you may feel some grinding sensations as the tooth is loosened, you should not feel any pain. For those who are very anxious or squeamish about the procedure, we do offer IV sedation to enable you to fully relax throughout it. Please ask our dental team about this service.

It is also important that we are up to date with your medical conditions and any medication that you may be on. Some medication, such as blood thinners, may mean that you will need to receive any necessary treatments in hospital, due to potential blood loss, as clots will not easily form.

Removing a tooth

How a tooth is removed will depend the nature of the problem. For example, an impacted wisdom tooth may need to be removed in several pieces. Most extractions though, are relatively straightforward, and we will discuss those today, leaving more complex procedures for a future blog.

Initially, we will inject a local anaesthetic into the area of the gum where the procedure is to take place. We will make sure that this has taken full effect before we continue any further with the treatment.

Once we are happy that you are fully anaesthetised, the dentist will use a special implement to grip the tooth. Instead of then simply pulling the tooth out, as some patients believe, the tooth will first be manoeuvered from side to side in a gentle rocking motion. It is during this part of the procedure that you may feel a grinding sensation. This is the sensation of the tooth being gradually loosened from the jaw bone and surrounding tissues. Once the tooth is free, the dentist will simply lift it away from its socket. Having done this, a piece of sterile gauze will be placed on the area to prevent bleeding and to help in the creation of a blood clot. This is an important step in the healing process.


Once we are happy that a blood clot is formed, you will be free to leave the practice. If you have had IV sedation, make sure to bring someone with you who can get you home safely. You will not be able to drive for 24 hours after receiving this particular therapy.

The blood clot that has formed will prevent the socket from becoming infected, and, however curious you may be, you should not, under any circumstances, poke at the clot with any object including your finger or tongue. Providing that you abide by this, the clot should remain where it is. In the event of it becoming dislodged, please place the gauze that we will provide, on the socket until a new one has formed. If you are concerned in any way about the postoperative area, please call us straight away.

It is important that you do not smoke for at least 24 hours, and preferably more, after the procedure. Smoking will slow down the healing process and may increase the risk of complications caused by infections.

You should also take care to keep the area clean. Whilst you can brush and floss the rest of your teeth as normal, taking good care not to ‘catch’ the blood clot, you will obviously not be able to brush the area itself. To keep this clean, you will need to use a saline solution to tip over the area several times a day. We will provide you with full and more detailed aftercare information when you have the procedure at our Purley practice.

Replacement teeth

Most people will want to replace a missing tooth, and there are many good reasons why you should do so. Partial dentures are a straightforward solution, with a bridge or an implant offering what is generally considered to be a more positive experience. Unlike dentures though, both of these do require invasive dental treatment. We are happy to discuss any replacement options with you when you are ready to do so and so that you can make an informed decision about the best treatment for you and your budget.

If you have any questions relating to a tooth extraction, or would like to discuss replacement options with us, please call the Confidental Clinic on 020 8660 8923.