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Preparing for a tooth extraction

Teeth extractions

If you’re searching for information on preparing for a tooth extraction, the chances are that you’re about to have the procedure done. Whether you’re having teeth pulled for braces, to create space, or because of a damaged and decayed tooth, the procedure generally follows one of two pathways:

Simple extractions

Simple tooth extractions are normally carried out under local anaesthetic in your dentist’s chair. These types of extractions are usually to create more space in the mouth or to remove a problematic, decayed tooth. In most cases, over the counter pain killers are sufficient for pain after the procedure.

Surgical extractions

Surgical tooth extractions are usually carried out in a dental hospital under a light general anaesthetic. They are most commonly performed when someone has impacted wisdom teeth, or if the person has a special medical condition. After these kinds of procedures, prescription level pain medication is often required and there can be slightly more bruising and swelling.

How to prepare

With simple tooth extractions, there’s not a huge amount you should do to prepare for your procedure, except take it easy and get a good night’s sleep. With surgical extractions, you may have been instructed to fast for a certain number of hours. If you’re not sure, always check with the hospital or dentist where you are having the extractions.

It’s also a good idea to arrange transport to and from your dentist or hospital, as the last thing you’ll want to do after a surgical procedure is drive or get on public transport.


Swelling and pain are the most common complaints after a tooth extraction, but sometimes, other complications can occur.

One of the most common is dry socket, also known as alveolitis. This mostly develops after a lower back tooth has been extracted and the blood clot in the socket is lost. It can be particularly painful and is made worse by smoking and drinking hot drinks. If you get dry socket, your dentist will put antibacterial dressings in the wound every couple of days, and may even prescribe antibiotics.

In severe cases, dry socket can turn into osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone. This most commonly happens as an infection in the lower jaw, and is accompanied by a temperature, fatigue and facial swelling. It is often treated with a course of antibiotics.

Most people suffer from bleeding after a tooth extraction, but if there is a lot of persistent bleeding, go back to your dentist for advice. Furthermore, if you’re on blood thinners, be sure to mention it to your dentist at least a week before.

How to avoid dental extractions

Sometimes, tooth extractions cannot be avoided. But taking good care of your oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly can mean that potential problems are spotted in good time and that you avoid the need to have a tooth pulled. To book in for your dental check-up at our Hove-based practice, call us today on: 01273 736448.

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