• it is much better to avoid the need for extractions with good dental health
  • cut down how often you have food or drink containing sugar
  • restrict sugar-containing food and drink to mealtimes or an agreed time each week
  • brush twice daily with a fluoride containing toothpaste
  • visit your dentist regularly

No medical procedure is ever 100% safe, but with careful monitoring, a general anaesthetic is safer now than ever before. If you are in pain and in need of dental care, this may be the only way you will be able to have treatment. A general anaesthetic will only be undertaken after consultation with your dentist, and any alternatives discussed. This resource is designed to provide all the information you will need. Please ask your dentist to explain anything you do not understand.


You must not eat or drink for at least 6 hours before the appointment. Clear fluids, such as water, may be consumed up to two hours prior to the procedure.

You should arrange for another adult to drive you to and from the hospital. Public transport is not suitable.

Morning appointment

Nothing to eat after midnight the night before the appointment.

Afternoon appointment

  • light breakfast before 7:30am, avoid fried foods. 
  • sips of water or diluted squash may be taken before 11:30am


You may be asked to wear a hospital gown or dressing gown. 


  • you can go home as soon as you are assessed as fit and well by nursing staff
  • you will be asked to bite on gauze pads whilst waking up, and until the bleeding has stopped
  • you must not rinse your mouth for the rest of the day. You should rise with warm salt water starting the following day. More detailed instructions will be given after the extractions
  • you will need to rest when you return home. You should be able to return to work the following day
  • painkillers may be given as a suppository immediately after the extractions. You will be asked to give your consent. If none are given, paracetamol is suitable to take when you return home
  • contact your dentist if bleeding starts and will not stop after biting on a cotton handkerchief

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