Teeth may need to be extracted for a number of reasons, but the most common are decay, gum disease, wisdom tooth infection or overcrowding. If a tooth can be saved and an extraction avoided then you will be advised of this during your consultation.
Often teeth can be extracted under a local anaesthetic which involves an injection into the gum similar to a dental injection for a filling. After a few minutes the tooth will be numb and can be removed without pain. Local anaesthetic can be combined with sedation which helps you to relax. If sedation is given you will need time to recover but can go home the same day. More difficult cases may require a general anaesthetic on a "day case" basis and this is where you are put to sleep completely but, again, will usually be able to go home later the same day.
A little bit of bleeding is normal after a tooth extraction and you will be given a gauze swab to bite on to help stop this. The numbing effect of the local anaesthetic will usually last a few hours but afterwards the extraction site is usually sore and you may require painkillers. This will be discussed with you after the extraction.
Complications of tooth extraction can include an infection causing pain and swelling and may require antibiotics. A dry socket occurs if a blood clot doesn't form properly in the tooth socket. This leaves a small area of exposed bone which is very painful. It is an unusual complication but will require further treatment as it heals to reduce the discomfort.
There are two nerves that lie close to a wisdom tooth, one supplies feeling to the lower lip and chin and one to the side of the tongue. Therefore, when a wisdom tooth is removed these nerves could be bruised which can lead to tingling or numbness of the lower lip and chin or the tongue. It is uncommon, but if it does occur, most people will recover within a few weeks or months.