Surgical tooth extraction is required when a simple extraction is not possible. The procedure usually involves removing or moving your gums to gain access to the tooth. In some cases, the removal of some bone may be necessary.
Teeth are removed for many different reasons, including overcrowding, decay and chronic pain. In most cases, a dentist is able to "pull" the tooth out in one piece. But when this is not possible, surgical tooth extraction is necessary. When an extraction by forceps is not possible, the dentist or surgeon may need to remove gum and bone tissue. While most procedures can be carried out under local anaesthetic, a general anaesthetic might be required if extensive surgery is required. If the problem is potentially serious, the extraction is usually carried out in a hospital. A maxillofacial surgeon may perform this tricky procedure, along with a small team of assistants.
Your dental surgeon will start by giving you a series of injections. Two or more may be needed in your gum, depending on the nature of the problem. There's a chance that you will be offered a general anaesthetic.
A surgical tooth extraction is needed when a simple forceps extraction isn't possible. This may be due to the fact for example, the tooth is broken. To gain access to the tooth a small incision is made within the gum. This provides the dentist with better access to the tooth and the surrounding bone.
Your surgeon will always try to remove the tooth in a single piece. However, this isn't always possible. In some cases, the safest course of action is to first break the tooth into pieces before extracting each segment individually using special tools.
Once the surgeon is confident that the entire tooth has been removed, they will use two or three stitches to close the wound. These stitches are usually dissolvable, so you do not need to attend a separate appointment for their removal.
The methods used for surgical tooth extraction depend on the scale and nature of the problem. After an initial incision, a range of different utensils can be used to extract the tooth. Some surgeons may break the tooth into fragments with a drill. In many cases, exposing more of the tooth can allow for a forceps removal.
A good surgeon will be able to minimise the pain you experience. However, this is invasive surgery, and it will involve a degree of pain - most of which comes after the procedure. Expect to be in surgery for up to two hours. Although most extractions are performed far faster, complications can lead to longer surgeries. Most people are able to undergo surgical tooth extraction with a local anaesthetic. But if the extraction is complex, a general anaesthetic may be necessary. And if this happens, you might need to spend a night or two in hospital. While the actual procedure takes just a matter of minutes, the entire process can take up to 10 days. After an extraction, most people are left with an opening in their gum (where the extracted tooth used to be). You'll need to follow strict eating, drinking and hygiene guidelines for up to 10 days in order to allow the wound to fully heal. This might involve some disruption to your daily routines. You'll need to take care of your wound for several days after your surgery. Your surgeon will talk you through the recovery period before you go in for the procedure.