A tooth that is decayed, damaged or infected may need to be removed.
What happens during tooth removal?
Most teeth can be removed easily under a local anaesthetic. Lower teeth can be more difficult to remove so sometimes a general anaesthetic is needed. The operation usually takes between 10 minutes and an hour.
Removing a wisdom tooth can involve cutting the gum to uncover the tooth, removing bone around the tooth and dividing the tooth with a drill.
Recovery from tooth removal
Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities very soon after having teeth removed.
You should be able to go home the same day of your operation. Depending on the difficulty of the operation and the likelihood of infection, you may be prescribed antibiotics.
You should avoid any strenuous activities for the first 48 hours to reduce the risk of bleeding, swelling and bruising. You may need to take up to a week off work.
Complications of tooth removal
As with any operation, there's a small chance of complications, such as:
- swelling and bruising
Specific complications of removing teeth include:
- dry socket
- retained roots
- damage to nearby teeth
- sinus problems
- broken jaw
- not being able to open the mouth fully (trismus) and jaw stiffness
- damage to nerves.
The healthcare team will do their best to minimise any risks. Make sure you discuss any concerns you have about these complications with your consultant.
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