Extracting A Tooth – The Last Resort

Explaining how we remove a tooth at our Clapham dental practice.

Whilst preventing dental problems is naturally better than having to treat them, there are now many procedures that are available to save a tooth when decay, or other problems, have occurred. From a minor dental filling through to root canal treatment, our dentists will do all that is practical to save a patient’s natural teeth.

Sometimes though, this may no longer be possible and a long standing troublesome tooth, or one that has received sudden damage, may have to be extracted. Many patients still believe that we actually ‘pull’ out the tooth. The procedure, however, is a little more involved.

X-rays and examination

When a patient attends our Clapham practice, either with a long term problem with a tooth, or an emergency dental appointment for something that has just happened, we will examine the tooth closely, likely taking x-rays to determine the nature of the problem. Where no alternatives are available, or where the prognosis is very poor, we may extract the tooth. This procedure will always be performed using a local anaesthetic and will take place at the Confidental Clinic except for where there may be complications, such as can occur with wisdom teeth, for example. These procedures may be carried out in hospital or by referral to a specialist.

The procedure

Once the local anaesthetic has taken full effect and the relevant area of the mouth is numb, the dentist will use special implements to grip the tooth.  The tooth is not then simply pulled out, but is rocked gently from side to side. This acts to gradually loosen the tooth from the bone which holds it in place. Once the dentist is confident that this has happened, the tooth can then be simply pulled away from the gum. You will quickly be given some sterile gauze to bite down on to stem the initial bleeding.

After a short while, the dentist will remove the gauze and examine the area of the extraction to make sure that a blood clot is forming in the socket. If it is still bleeding, a second gauze may be used. Once your Clapham dentist is satisfied that the clot has formed, you will be given full instructions about aftercare and will be free to leave the practice.


It is important that the aftercare instructions that you are given are followed closely. The blood clot is an important part of the healing process and care should be taken not to dislodge it, but if you follow our aftercare advice closely, this should not be a problem. In the event that the clot does come out though, please contact us straight away as this can cause a dry socket, which can prove to be very painful.

Whilst an extraction is generally a routine procedure, we appreciate that some patients may feel anxious about having a tooth extracted. If you feel that this applies to you when you are due to have treatment, we offer various means of support for nervous patients and we will be very happy to discuss this with you before the procedure takes place.

For additional information about extractions or other procedures, or to book an appointment with one of our Clapham dentists, please call the Confidental Clinic on 020 7801 9060.