A tooth extraction may be necessary for many reasons, including severe damage or decay. One of the most common dental procedures, a tooth extraction can eliminate bacteria and improve your overall oral health.
What is tooth extraction?
Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth.
Dentists and oral surgeons remove teeth for various reasons. Some examples include:
trauma or injury to the tooth or surrounding bone
wisdom teeth complications
preparation for a dental prosthesis
preparation for dental braces, if the teeth are very crowded
baby teeth not falling out at the proper age
The right type of tooth extraction depends on the tooth’s shape, size, position, and location in the mouth.
Dental surgeons may classify extractions as simple or surgical. A simple extraction involves a tooth that is visible above the gums and that a dentist can remove in one piece.
A surgical extraction is more complicated and involves the removal of gum tissue, bone, or both. The surgeon may need to remove the tooth in pieces.
What happens before a tooth extraction?
We will assess your affected tooth and surrounding gums. We will also take dental X-rays to check bone levels and determine the extent of the damage. Let us know about any medications, vitamins, or supplements you’re taking. Once all information is gathered, treatment and sedation options will be discussed with you in detail.
Sedation options in dentistry
We can offer sedation during tooth extractions and other dental procedures. Sedation is an excellent option for people who have dental anxiety — or for those who simply want to be more comfortable during their appointment.
We will recommend general anesthesia in a clinical setting. This option is usually reserved for complex cases, such as facial reconstruction or corrective jaw surgery.
What happens during a tooth extraction?
First, local anesthesia is given to numb your affected tooth and surrounding gum tissue. Using specialized dental instruments, we will gently loosen your tooth and carefully lift it from its socket. Sometimes, we might need to make incisions in your gums to access your tooth — especially if your tooth is badly decayed or has broken off at the gum line. Once your tooth is removed, the socket is cleaned and disinfected. In some cases, we may also place a dental bone graft, which helps prevent bone loss in your jaw. Finally, stitches may be placed to help promote healing.
What happens after a tooth extraction?
When the procedure is complete, we will place a piece of gauze over the extraction site and ask you to close down with firm, steady pressure. This helps slow bleeding so a blood clot can form. (Clotting is a normal aspect of recovery. It promotes healing and reduces the risk of dry sockets.) You’ll take the gauze out once the bleeding has slowed enough. You may continue to have light bleeding throughout the first 24 hours.
What are the advantages of pulling a tooth?
Tooth extraction offers a number of benefits.
Most importantly, it reduces harmful bacteria that can damage your teeth and gums.
Left untreated, a decayed or damaged tooth can wreak havoc on your smile, causing a domino effect of problems.
Removing your affected tooth gives you the best chance for optimal oral health.
Additionally, tooth extraction can help ease dental pain almost immediately — especially if your tooth was severely broken or infected.
What are the risks or complications of tooth extraction?
Like any surgical procedure, tooth extraction carries a small risk of complications. These may include:
Perforation of maxillary sinus.
What are the side effects of removing a tooth?
Normal side effects following tooth extraction include bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. We will provide instructions on how to successfully manage your healing.
How long does it take to recover from a tooth extraction?
It depends on the complexity of your case. However, most people feel back to normal in just a few days. While you’ll be able to return to routine activities within 48 to 72 hours, it usually takes the jawbone several weeks to heal completely. Therefore, if you’re planning on replacing the tooth with a dental implant, you’ll probably need to wait a few months to allow for full recovery.
Tooth extraction aftercare
After your extraction, your dentist will give you a detailed list of post-surgical instructions. Here are some general guidelines for a speedy recovery:
Keep the extraction site clean. Gently rinse the area with an antimicrobial mouthwash two to three times a day. Avoid brushing directly over your extraction site until your dentist tells you it’s safe to do so. Brush and floss all other areas normally.
Take all medications as directed. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers. It’s important to take all of these medications exactly as directed. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
Avoid strenuous activity for at least two days. An elevated heart rate can cause increased postoperative bleeding and discomfort. Skip the gym for the first 48 to 72 hours. Ask your dentist when it’s safe to resume normal routines.
What can I eat after a tooth extraction?
Avoid hard and crunchy foods for the first few days. Stock your fridge and pantry with soft foods like rice, pasta, eggs, yogurt and applesauce. You’ll also want to avoid drinking through straws, as this can dislodge blood clots and cause dry sockets.
When can I go back to work or school?
Most people are able to return to work or school within a day or two. If you have a job that requires a lot of lifting or physical labor, you may need to take a few more days off work.