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Dental Procedure Guide: Tooth Extraction

If you’re wondering what the process of tooth extraction is, you’ve come to the right place. Having a tooth extracted may seem intimidating at first, but there’s usually little to worry about. Tooth extraction is a common surgery performed by many dentists across the UK, and we’ve created this guide to help you make more informed decisions about your oral health.

However, if you have experienced dental negligence after a tooth extraction and you’d like to make a claim, the Dental Law Partnership is here to help. As market leaders in our field, we’ve helped thousands of people with their dental negligence claims, and we hope to help thousands more.

If you’d like to open a dental negligence claim against your dentist, please get in touch with our expert team of solicitors today.

See if you have a case for dental negligence:

What is tooth extraction?

Tooth extraction is the practice of removing an entire tooth from the tooth socket in the jawbone. Typically considered to be a last resort, it’s usually performed if alternative treatment options have not been successful.

Tooth extraction may become necessary when the affected tooth is irreparably damaged and poses a risk if left untreated. In situations involving impacted wisdom teeth, extraction may also be considered, although your dentist may suggest other treatment options initially.

Depending on the situation, your dentist may attempt to restore the tooth first, by fitting a crown or a filling. However, this isn’t always feasible, and tooth extraction may be recommended instead.

When might tooth extraction be required?

There are many reasons why you may need to have a tooth extracted. As stated previously, it is usually only carried out when there are no alternative treatment options available.

You may need to have a tooth extracted if you have severe tooth decay – in these situations, extracting your tooth may help to prevent further oral health issues. If you have gum disease, your teeth may also become loose. If there is too much damage to be repaired, your teeth may have to be removed. Wisdom tooth extraction is also a common procedure for impacted wisdom teeth.

You may also need to have your teeth extracted if you have a broken tooth or crowded teeth.

tooth extraction

The tooth extraction process: A step-by-step guide

When undergoing a tooth extraction, there are several steps that your dentist should take to ensure the treatment goes ahead as planned. Every situation is different, and your surgery may differ depending on the location of the tooth and the existing damage. In some cases, you may need to have surgical extraction carried out by an oral surgeon in hospital, although the procedure will usually be carried out at your dental practice.

Tooth extraction usually involves the following steps:

  1. First, you’ll have an initial consultation with your dentist to assess the situation. Your dentist will need to obtain informed consent from you, including information about risks, side effects and alternative treatments. You may also need to have an X-ray completed to determine whether the procedure needs to be carried out by your dentist or an oral surgeon.
  2. Before your teeth are extracted, a local anaesthetic will be applied to numb the affected area. In some cases, you may also be given a sedative to relax.
  3. If the tooth hasn’t come through the gum, a small incision will be made in the gum to access the extraction site. Part of the bone may also need to be removed, and the tooth may also need to be cut into different parts to make it easier to remove.
  4. Your dentist will then proceed to remove the tooth. This may involve rocking the tooth backwards and forwards and you may feel slight pressure, although this is normal.
  5. If an incision has been made, dissolving stitches will then be added to seal the gum, which usually dissolve within ten days.
  6. Your dentist will place a gauze over the extraction site and ask you to keep pressure on it for an hour. This is to create a blood clot, which is part of the healing process. It’s important to try not to dislodge any blood clots after your procedure.
  7. You may also be prescribed a course of antibiotics afterwards, although this isn’t always necessary.

Simple procedures can be carried out within a matter of minutes, although more complicated surgeries can take a longer period of time. Once the extraction has been completed, your dentist should then provide you with aftercare advice, which you should follow to ensure surgical success.

How long does the process of tooth extraction take?

The length of time a tooth extraction procedure takes varies based on your personal circumstances.

If you have more than one tooth that needs to be removed, the procedure will naturally take longer. Simple procedures can be carried out within a few minutes, although more complicated surgeries may take longer.

Your dentist should be able to give you a rough time estimate at your initial consultation appointment.

The length of time you have to keep your braces on for may also differ, although it’s typically between 16 to 18 months. However, in some cases, you may need to keep your braces on your teeth for a longer period of time.

What should be covered in my consultation?

Before your tooth extraction procedure is carried out, your dentist will need to carry out an initial consultation to assess the situation. As tooth extraction is usually a last resort, your dentist will usually offer alternative procedures if they are available.

During your preliminary consultation, your dentist will determine whether tooth extraction is necessary and assess your oral health. A treatment plan will be created for you, and your dentist will also need to obtain informed consent. This includes notifying you of any risks, side effects and alternative procedures available.

Once you have been approved for a tooth extraction, your dentist should go through a detailed explanation of the treatment, as well as making you aware of the aftercare process.

How many appointments can I expect when undergoing a tooth extraction procedure?

This is another aspect that depends on your personal situation. Usually, most tooth extraction procedures are carried out within one appointment, although you will usually have an initial consultation beforehand.

However, in more severe cases, or if several teeth need to be removed, you may need to have several appointments to remove the affected teeth.

The aftercare process

After your teeth have been removed, there are several aftercare steps you should follow, which your dentist has a duty of care to inform you of.

The NHS recommends the following tips for the healing process following a tooth extraction:

  • – Mouthwash, hot drinks, hot food and strenuous activity should be avoided for the first 24 hours
  • – After the first 24 hours, you should gently rinse your mouth with salt water after meals
  • – Your teeth should be cleaned gently, making sure blood clots are not dislodged when brushing
  • – Avoid smoking and eating hard foods until the affected area is healed
  • – Use a cold compress to ease swelling and take painkillers when required

However, if you are unsure, you should always speak to your dentist. You may also be prescribed a course of antibiotics to prevent infection, although this step is not always necessary.


Who should you contact if your treatment goes wrong?

If your treatment goes wrong or negligence occurs, it can be extremely distressing. However, there are several avenues you can try to address the issue. The majority of tooth extractions are completed correctly, but tooth fractures and severe nerve damage can occur if the surgery is carried out incorrectly.

You may want to consider making a complaint to your dentist. All dental surgeries have their own complaints procedure, which may differ slightly if you’re attending an NHS or private practice. You can request a full copy of the complaints procedure and make a complaint to either your dentist or your surgery. However, there is a one year time limit in which you can make official complaints, which should be noted.

Your dentist may be able to offer corrective surgery to fix the issue, although we understand you may not want to return to the same practice where the negligence occurred. If you do opt for corrective treatment, your dentist should assess the area and inform you of the next steps to take.

Your other option is to open a dental negligence claim. The time limit for legal cases is longer, and you can make a claim up to three years after the negligence occurred. You don’t need to have made a complaint before starting a dental negligence claim, so this option may be preferable if you feel uncomfortable speaking to your dentist again.

To open a claim with the Dental Law Partnership, please contact us on 0800 152 2038.

Questions you should ask your dentist before undergoing treatment

Having surgery carried out is never an easy decision, and it can be made worse if you have a fear of the dentist. Most tooth extractions go ahead as planned, although it’s understandable that there may be some questions you want to ask before starting your treatment. Your dentist should be able to answer all your enquiries sufficiently before starting work on your teeth.

During your initial consultation, you may want to consider asking the following questions:

  • – How long is the tooth extraction procedure?
  • – How much will the treatment cost?
  • – Am I able to get a reduction for the cost of the surgery?
  • – Is a written treatment plan available?
  • – Are there any side effects or risks that I should be aware of?
  • – What aftercare will I require?
  • – How long will my treatment take, and will I need any follow-up appointments?
  • – How do I prepare for my surgery?
  • – Are there any alternative procedures I could try instead?
  • – Are there specific cleaning products I should use during the recovery process?
  • – Is there anything else I should be aware of before undergoing treatment?

However, you may have other questions which aren’t listed here. If in doubt, you may want to consider speaking to several practices to ensure you get the best care available.

If you’ve already had a tooth extraction and you feel that the treatment was performed negligently, you may want to move to the dental negligence claims process. Our team will be happy to open a case for you – please contact us here for more information.

We answer the most searched dental health questions for National Dentists Day

Rise above dental negligence with the Dental Law Partnership

Now that you’ve read through this dental procedure guide, you should have the answer to the question ‘how long does it take to fit braces?’, as well as a range of other common queries.

However, if your dentist has made a mistake when fitting your braces, and you think you may have suffered from dental negligence, you may be wondering what the next steps are. When you entrust your oral health to a dental professional, you rightly expect a high level of care that safeguards your well-being, so it can be very distressing when the standard of care fails.

At the Dental Law Partnership, we’re a reputable law firm specialising in the area of dental negligence claims. We can help you to sue your dentist after negligence, aiming to get all our clients the compensation they deserve. We operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, which means that you only pay if your case is successful.

If you’d like to get started with your dental negligence claim, please contact us, and we’ll do whatever it takes to secure justice for you.

See if you have a case for dental negligence:

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or call us free on: 0800 0853 823